Thursday, 31 December 2015

All Creatures

All creatures great and small, fat and tall, our Lord God loves them all, or does that song go otherwise. Anyway on the very last day of the year, we did another early morning start. This time we left from our base in Nelspruit and headed for Numbi, the closest gate into the Kruger National Park armed only with our cell phones’ cameras.

It was a cool start but we knew that the temperatures would hit 40 degrees Celsius so we packed lots of water. At first the animals were scarce but we camped out at every watering hole between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza. The heat forced the animals to the watering holes with even the rhinoceroses preferring to wallow in the water as if they wished to become hippopotamuses.

We saw mostly Impala followed hot on their tails were the rhinos. Yes we were blessed to see lots of these endangered animals but towards the end of the day all we wanted was to see some elephants and then we nearly drove into two large males bulls as we round a dirt track that lead to another watering hole. These two must have opened the flood gates as it was elephants we wanted, we got plenty.

The crowning point of our trip was at the very end, near Malelane on another dirt track along the Crocodile River. The Leopard just caught a monkey in front of us and calmly proceeded to walk past us carrying it’s dinner, much to the disgust of the other monkeys who stayed well back in the trees barking at the leopard.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015


Pipoca, popcorn, oh dear we went away for the holidays and I was all prepared to upload to my blog but I forgot my password to my laptop. I can only kick myself. Anyway I took photos everyday and prepared the blog posts so here are my slightly delayed posts.

We haven’t had a holiday together since 2014 and as it was well over due we decided to go down to the Slow-veldt to do both family duties and have a well deserved holiday. It was a very early start before dawn packing the car and it turned out to be a golden start as we left our home for the long trip down.

We took it easy stopping along the way enjoying all parts of our journey down to Nelspruit. Thankfully the roads weren’t busy and the scenery changed from the city to open grass lands to rolling hills and down the mountainous escarpment to finally reaching the low veldt.

Soon the hills were alive with the sound of music. What do they say, keep calm and sing on the mountains, no that was not it, climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow until you find your dream, that’s it, that is a few of my favourite things.

Finally we arrived at our destination, but family duties started early, visiting parents and sister’s family, dropping off Matthew at cousins, booking in, and then visit friends. We were exhausted but there was no rest for the wicked.

We haven’t seen our friends Paulo and Shani for such a long time so it was very high up on our list of duties to get under the belt before our serious holiday begins, but this was more pleasure than duty as we never met their little Ariela or as Paulo calls her affectionately Pipoca.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

I Don’t Feel It

The day started with Matthew and I taking a ride on the Vespa to get Matthew a short back and sides haircut. Afterwards we arranged to meet my brother Anthony at Cresta as he taken his pick up there for a service.

Anthony was just hanging around waiting while the mechanics serviced his pick up. We arranged to meet for breakfast and afterwards we went shopping for a black shirt for Matthew as he is into black now days. We walked that mall up and down but everything we found was either way over priced or simply Matthew didn’t feel it. What is wrong with teenagers these days? I just don’t feel it, huh!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Light Attracts

At night the outside light on the patio attracts all sorts of flying creatures much to the amusement of the cat Princess who is compelled to get as close as possible so that she can try swot them out of the air.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Green Richard

No Green I say, not because Richard is wearing a yellow Che Guevara t-shirt but because he may be the greenest fellow I ever met other than that green peace chap I met a long time ago. May I should say psychedelic not green as he is more into those mind bending colours of peace and love from the 60s.

Richard used to be my drug pusher quite a while back. No not the hard drugs but Ginseng and other strange Chinese herbal health products that he brought to work daily. Personally I think he was afraid of getting the flu and wanted to make sure all of his work colleagues were healthy around him. But somehow that didn’t work as I remember getting pneumonia that year, a few months before setting out on conquering Sani Pass on a Vespa in the middle of winter.

Anyway it was a surprise to see Richard again when we stopped to visit friends Gary and Anika on our way back from picking up Matthew in Benoni. Now Richard is Anika’s brother and they, Richard and his family are up from the Natal South Coast visiting for the holidays. Nice family I must say.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Day After

On the day after we celebrated the birth of the Messiah, I stood in front of this empty broken throne. The children are gone, so are the presents, even Santa Claus is nowhere to be seen. Dare I ask the question, has Santa replaced Jesus this Christmas?

Santa Claus comes but once a year bringing gifts to all those on the good list and lumps of coal to those on the naughty list. But the Messiah came to bring the gift of grace to all those who accepts him, good or naughty.

And the best part the throne is not empty.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Rebekah’s First Christmas

At two months old, baby Rebekah joined the family for her first Christmas and she must have been a very good little girl these last two months with all the presents showered upon her. The most presents in fact but we didn’t mind as she is a beautiful granddaughter.

Oh now what present must I open next?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Amazing Grace

It was a night just like tonight that God did an amazing thing. He allowed His son to be born to Yosef and Miryam. They called Him Yeshua. No one knew the plan that God had foretold many times, the plan was for this baby Yeshua to become the Messiah, the saviour of the world, by dying for us, you, and me included.

Amazing love, how can it be that you, Yeshua, should die for me so that I might live?

It is your amazing Grace that you, God, sent your Son to die in my place so that I could be forgiven and be accepted as your son too, a son of God. Thank you.

Amazing Grace by the Soweto Gospel Choir at BBC this Christmas eve

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Forest Hill City

Now this is what I call a shopping centre. Compared to Cresta Shopping Mall which even though they just come through a major revamp was a disaster of a mall. For one the air conditioning at Forest Hill City is working perfectly making it very pleasant to shop.

At Cresta yesterday we endured just over 2 hours of hell on earth and had to pay R6 parking as an insult, At Forest Hill we spent more than 4 hours shopping which felt like a breeze and we paid only R5 for parking, and that was also for underground parking out of the blaring (glaring) mid-day African sun. Plus on weekdays they have 2 hours free parking. Goes to show how greedy Cresta’s management have become, "Don’t fix the air con and charge them more to come shop" is not the way to win the hearts and minds.

Another thing about Forest Hill City mall is that they go out of their way to make it enjoyable to shop there is they know that it is a big mall to walk and that women drag their husbands shopping so they placed convenient sofas and couches everywhere. I know Clearwater Mall used to do this once upon a time but not anymore. Well it looks like I found a better mall to come to from now on.

As for the men waiting on their better halfs to finish shopping, well it can be tiring with all this Christmas shopping and those leather sofas can be oh so comfortable. Snooze on big man, we understand.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Cresta Shopping Centre Dimi’s Fail

Well this post is a double post on our late night shopping excursion to Cresta Shopping Centre for the remainder of our Christmas gifts and a Date Night dinner which turned into a disaster. Okay this is a long post but in summary Cresta Shopping Centre and a restaurant in the centre are the last place that I would send even my worst enemy, they are that bad.

I heard about Cresta converting their free parking into paid parking and I wasn't keen on going there anymore but Lynda wanted to go as she still had a few gifts to buy and with the late night shopping hours on offer out of the heat of the day, it became a little appealing.

The late hours must be a killer for the retail staff working extra long hours but the straw that broke the camel's back was that most of the stores didn't even have adequate air conditioning. Take for example Woolworths, a top of the range retail store, was so unbearable that we couldn't even shop there for long.

Interesting find at Cresta was this Telodex that was packaged as a Retro Phone Directory in what seemed to be the only air conditioned store, Big Blue. We probably stayed the longest in this store than any other due to it's aircon.

With shopping nearly a failure, we looked around to find a suitable restaurant for dinner. Some places had long queues, others more fast food like but settled on a restaurant called Dimi's which seemed to offer everything that we were looking for at reasonable prices. The first thing that hit us was the heat. On a balmy summer evening, even the restaurants at Cresta were like ovens.

I ordered a 500g t-bone steak and Lynda a burger as our main course. When ordering our food, the waiter spelled out all the options that came with my steak. I went with chips and vegetables but the waiter didn't ask how I wanted my steak and just rushed off. I then popped outside and while out the waiter came back to our table to ask us to remind him what did we order for starters. Uhmmm first signs that there was going to be problems.

When I got back to my table, I called the waiter over and told him that I wanted my steak medium, it was then that I found out that the waiter assumed I wanted it well done, sigh. I also asked him for ice for the second time. Our starters came but not the cutlery. I had to call for another waiter to please bring some eating utensils as I tend not to eat with my hands. Not long later our mains arrived but like the starters with no cutlery again. This was starting to annoy us.

Lynda's burger looked okay but mine was just a steak and a few chips. No vegetables nor garnish. It was just one ugly presentation. Where is Gordon Ramsay when we need him? I asked the waiter when he is going to bring my vegetables that I ordered, he answered "sorry" for the umpteen time, this time round was "sorry there is no vegetables". When the cutlery arrived there was no steak knife and I had to ask 4 times for a steak knife, once was the manager, while I proceeded to hack at one tough steak as this steak must have died a natural death. At the end of my constant asking, the waiter replied that I already had the sharpest knife in the restaurant and offered to cut my steak for me. Eish!

After my ordeal and a blister or two from hacking into the meat with a blunt knife, I reminded the waiter that I was still waiting for my second rock shandy that I had ordered when I was eating my starters way back, oh I am forgetting as it was so long ago.

When I got the bill, I noticed that they charged me two different prices for the same drink. The waiter said that he made a mistake and I must just take off the difference as the manager was too busy to correct it. What? Ohh and talk about the manager or maybe it was the owner, this evening in this sweaty hellhole called Dimi's, I saw what I believe is the manager stand one side and shout across the restaurant to a waiter if table the waiter was preparing ready to bring the next group of unexpecting diners in. Was this Faulty Towers? I must say the most spoken word spoken to us in the entire traumatic dinner experience was "sorry". That's it sorry and nothing else but sorry.

Dimi’s is one place I am never going to recommend to anyone and if I could give minus stars I would. Cresta Shopping Centre and Dimi’s Restaurant both are a no go area. Two big FAILs.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Love from Heaven

The other day Lynda was cleaning up some boxes in the office and found her late mother’s cookbook which is sellotaped together from well use. The book called Good Housekeeping’s Basic Cookery in Pictures was first published in 1952 but this was a reprint from 1961. Lynda’s mom must have got this for her wedding or there abouts as she got married in 1963.

While nostalgically paging through the cookbook and thinking about how well her mom used to bake things for the home, Lynda stumbled upon a message from her mom to her. Now Lynda has had this cookbook for quite a while and this was the first time she ever saw this message penned by her mom, as if this was message straight from heaven to her.

To dear Lynda with love from Mom.
Hope this book helps you as much as it did me.
To pass it on later to Robynne and further down the line.

With this little bit of love straight from heaven, Lynda was brought to tears as memories of her mom's love for her started flooding in. By mid afternoon the spirit of Lynda’s mom filled our kitchen as the delicious smells of baking wafted out to the patio where I was sitting watching the building of a summer afternoon thunderstorm.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Aunty Rene

Well we don’t often go up north to Pretoria to visit family so we decided that since we are taking Matthew back to his mother for Christmas we might as well do a detour and kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

Uncle Tony and Aunt Rene were as expected very pleased to see us and we had afternoon tea out at the side of their cottage with the rabbits and a labrador. Above is a photo of Matthew with his great aunty Rene.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Thin and Fat Visitors

Living out in the country side away from the city bustle has a lot of advantages and a few disadvantages such as extra kilometres to get anywhere but I do feel that the good outweigh the bad.

The badness of the flies that are attracted to the cattle is outweighed by the strange insects that come and visit. Today we got visitors from both fat and thin beautiful creatures.

At first I thought it was a baby stick insect, I have seen them grow longer than my hand in Mozambique, but this little creature turned out to be a well camouflage praying mantis although against the white window frame doesn’t help much.

Later a very large beetle, a Dicronorrhina Derbyana or aka an Emerald Fruit Chafer Beetle, came buzzing in much to the delight of the cats but this strange visitor sensed the danger and headed for the pear tree. With the cats up the tree looking for it, I took some photos but it wasn’t easy to focus on due to all the leaves and branches in the way. Again camouflage helped this fat beetle to stay out of the cats reach while it tried to hone in of the fruit.

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Force Awakens

A lot of expectation awaited this release of Star Wars since the last episodes. I remember a time I fought the crowds with my brother in-law Hans to watch a Star Wars launch night viewing at Montecasino. Now I am older and a lot wiser, I hope, with the crowd mania not my thing.

And so Matthew and I chose a quiet Friday morning, two days after the hype of the first showing, to go view Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Well please excuse the photo above as I had to at least document this occasion and there were no Stormtroopers or Darth Vader around so I had to improvise with me pretending to hold a lightsaber.

Not to give away any spoilers so those who have not watched it yet stop reading any further... Oh you can come back afterwards as I have an important question near the end.

I hate 3D movies as they are always slightly blurry and it looks like a tiny screen and not the big screen to me eyes. In all Ster Kinekor’s wisdom there were no normal screenings close by to me so I had to go to the 3D rendition which spoilt the whole experience for me.

Anyway I have a question for those who have seen the movie which should be all who are reading this far down. In the Star Wars canon, see the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Hans and Leia had 3 children, the twins Jacen and Jaina, and later another son Anakin. So now to my question, in this Star Wars – The Force Awakens we find out that Kylo is the son of Hans and Leia which according to canon becomes Darth Caedus but is Rey his twin sister Jaina? Now that The Forces Awakens, we have to wait until the next Star Wars movie to find out and endure a lot of speculation of whom Kylo and Rey are.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Matthew had a sleep over at his best friend, Justin last night. Nooo, how can I call it a sleep over when they pulled an all nighter playing Xbox and only crashed at 4am? I know because they told me when I woke them both up my phone call at 12:30 lunchtime to see “what you doing?”

Sorry I have been told that best friend is so old school as it is now call bestie, go figure.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Reconciliation Day of the Vow

Today used to be called the Day of the Vow after a group of Voortrekkers form a group of 470 mostly men to go and revenge the murder of one of their leaders at the hand of Shaka’s half brother Dingane in the year of our Lord 1838. They were besieged along the Ncome River by a force of what was believed to number over 10,000 Zulu warriors. They made a vow before God that if he was to deliver them victory, that they would keep this day holy. God must have heard as the Afrikaners still hold this day holy.

But that was then, and today South Africans are in a new dispensation where not the victories of one group over the other is important any more but that all groups have made reconciliation by putting their past behind them and building a new better nation.

So on this Day of Reconciliation, while most of our country marches in #ZumaMustFall gatherings to protest that our President Zuma must step down after making a mess of things, we decided to have a traditional braai. My brother Anthony and his wife Helene, who by the way is of Voortrekker descent, joined us on the small holding next to the Jukskei River. It was relaxing reconciling while the meat slowing barbecued on the grill even though Zuma will never listen to the people but laugh at them "he he he".

Towards the end of this hot day, we took a walk down to the river with our dogs and took along the neighbours two Labrador puppies as they looked like they needed some relief from the heat of the day. I believe it might be their first walk and they found the water irresistible as Labradors tend to do. By the time we returned the pair, they were finished from all the fun, running and splashing.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

On the Patio

Work is finally over for the year and the summer holidays have begun. I arrived home mid afternoon and put my feet up on the patio with Matthew and of course the animals wanted in.

So Jade snuggled up in Matthew’s arms while Minky rolled up at my feet. Ah summer break is here with Christmas hot on its heels but for now a well deserved relaxation is called for.

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