Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cape Trip - Part Six

On the Tuesday we were in the Cape, we awoke to a grey, rainy day. I was beginning to get a little anxious that we would not be able to take a trip up Table Mountain in the cable car. It’s a “Must Do”, but is only really worth doing in good weather and when the “table cloth” is not covering the mountain. By this point we had determined that as soon as the weather was agreeable we would forgo all other plans and head straight for the mountain. But as that was not on the cards on this misty day, we decided to head to Simonstown.

First stop was Muizenberg - I was determined to show Paula the little huts on Muizenberg beach, so even though it was pouring with rain, I insisted we take a walk down to the beach, to get a photo of the huts – which we did!

huts on Muizenberg beachHaving seen the huts and been duly impressed (if rather wet!), we got back in the car, turned the heater up and steamed our way to Kalk Bay. Kalk Bay is really beautiful, a quaint little fishing village, complete with a picture perfect harbour. Having warmed up and dried off over a mug of hot chocolate in an unusual coffee shop, we headed off for Simonstown.


coffee shop in an old trainKalk Bay Harbour
A must-do when travelling through Simonstown is a visit to the Scratch Patch, where the kids (and adults if they are so inclined) can scratch through an enormous pile of semi-precious stones to select some to take home. You can also take a walk through the factory, watching semi-precious stones being cut and sorted and spend a fortune in the gift shops if that is what floats your boat. It’s all quite fascinating.

Scratch Patch
Having been there and done that, we meandered on to the centre of Simonstown, where we made a visit to the statue of “Able Seaman Just Nuisance” (do follow the link and read up on this remarkable dog, it’s a lovely, true story) and perused some naval vessels in the harbour, Simonstown being the naval headquarters in South Africa.

Just Nuisance
We then took a pleasant walk to Boulders Beach and spent some time with the penguins.


penguins
By this time the sun had come out and we drove back to Cape Town, via Hout Bay (where we had an extremely yummy lunch!) along Chapmans Peak drive, a truly delightful drive.

Chapmans Peak Drive
Chapmans Peak Drive
As we got back into Cape Town we looked up at the mountain and it was beautifully clear and sunny, so we made a bee-line for Table Mountain and took the trip to the top in a cable car. The views were absolutely spectacular!

Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain, showing Lion's Head, Signal Hill

and Robben Island in the distance

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday's Feast


Appetizer
Name something you would categorize as weird.
I find it SO weird that nowdays people become much loved icons for doing nothing except being rich and famous - why is that??? Eg Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie and the Kardashians

Soup
What color was the last piece of food you ate?
Unfortunately it was not a brightly coloured super food!! It was a KFC Twister - but there was lettuce in it, so surely that counts for something ;-)

Salad
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?
9. I have to have plenty of alone time or I go slightly nuts.

Main Course
Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.
I will definitely vote for a 4 day work week in the future if anyone has the wise idea of suggesting it

Dessert
Describe your sleeping habits.
I like to be asleep by 10pm, so I generally shower and climb into bed with a book by 9:30pm at the latest. Unfortunately, all too often, I become engrossed in my book and end up turning off the light waaaaay too late.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More re: Zimbabwe

This was sent to me via an email group I belong to -

Letter from Zimbabwe sent in by John Winter

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.

We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was "too close to the airport", so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help - but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable.

There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option. I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on. To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial). If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation.

We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa. This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight--- or how can we be rescued?

It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water. How can I take on another family of 4 -----and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?

I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how. Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD..The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? "If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way".[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]

For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, Ican't fight for my rights.

Censorship!----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.

Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done.

"I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - Edward Everett Hale

6 Fours

I picked this tag up at Simone's Butterfly, but I've adapted it ever so slightly.

A) FOUR PLACES I GO OVER AND OVER:
work (aaargh!)
the library
the mall
my hairdresser

B) FOUR PEOPLE WHO EMAIL ME REGULARLY:
Lisa
Moira
Desiree
the Clarks

C) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO EAT:
Just So Chinese
RJs
Panarottis
Villa Italia (you may notice an Italian food trend happening here!!)

D) FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
In the Cape
visiting Lisa in Guildford
Sun City
touring Europe

E) FOUR MOVIES I WATCH OVER AND OVER:
The Holiday
No Reservations
Meet the Fockers
You’ve got Mail

F) FOUR TV SHOWS I WATCH OVER AND OVER:
I’m not a huge TV fan, but I enjoy -
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
Survivor
7th Heaven

Monday, April 21, 2008

Zimbabwe

While parking at the local shopping mall today I noticed 5 vehicles bearing Zimbabwe registration plates in close proximity to my parking space. Driving down the main road in my area you are bound to see at least a couple of cars from Zim. It is glaringly obvious that at the moment we have A LOT of visitors from our neighbouring country, reason being the utter turmoil that, that country has been plunged into since the recent elections.

I don’t know how much publicity the dire situation in Zimbabwe is getting in the overseas media, but in all likelihood it is not enough. The fact is that the situation in Zimbabwe is reaching a crisis point. Cooksister recently posted a link to this blog, which gives a very clear picture regarding what is happening there. I appeal to you to read this blog and inform yourself as to what is happening to the people of Zimbabwe and then please pass this information on. It is time that the world stopped and took notice, even if it is only at a rate of one blogger at a time.

How can you help on a personal level? Easy! Visit one of the following websites:

Dignity! Period is a campaign that provides sanitary products for the women of Zimbabwe who can’t afford this basic right. Please have a look at their website for info on how you can help these women to regain some personal dignity.

• Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change has issued an urgent appeal for medical supplies as well as funds for medical costs, food and legal assistance. Make a donation at this site.

• Sign the petition to stop the arms shipment to Zimbabwe here

Come people, let's do something NOW!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

South Africanisms

In South Africa we have 11 official languages: Zulu, English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Xhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswathi, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Most South Africans can communicate in their own tongue and, to at least some extent, in one or two others. But there is also another unofficial language that South Africans speak, which often has foreigners shaking their heads in puzzlement.

Here are some of those weird and wonderful South Africanisms:

lekker = yummy, nice, cute - pronounced "lacquer"
kiff = “cool” - pronounced somewhat like "key if"
Ja = Yes (Afrikaans) - pronounced "Yah"
sharp bru = cool dude - pronounced "sharp brew"
Jislaaik = “Good grief” probably comes closest - pronounced "yis like"
Ag shame = there is really no translation for this one, as its meaning depends on the context in which it is said. When looking a sweet little baby it means “oh cute”. When commiserating with Aunt Matilda regarding her faulty gall bladder, it would mean “Oh poor you” - pronounced "och shame"
Eish = this means anything from “oh dear!” to “OOPS” - pronounced "eee sh"
Just now = This is a very loose term! If a South African says “I’ll do it just now” they mean only that the thing will be done sometime in the future – it could be in a minute or two, or in a couple of hours.
Howzit? = “Hi There” or “How are you?” - pronounced "how's it?"
“Ja well no fine” = this defies definition, it means something along the lines of “Whatever!”
Bliksem = dammit
wemame = oh my goodness - pronounced (roughly) "where ma may"
Voetsak! = get outside (when addressed to a dog), get lost! - pronounced "foot sack"
Sjoe = My goodness - pronounced "shoe"
Muti = medicine - pronounced "moo tea"
Eina = ouch - pronounced "ay nuh"
smaak = like very much - "smark"

Thanks to Rethabile for the following additions:
tekkies / takkies = sneakers pronounced "tack keys"
bakkie = pick up truck, utility vehicle, ute - pronounced "buhk key"

Confused yet????

Hopefully my fellow South African bloggers can add to this list - please leave any others you can think of in the comments!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cape Trip - Part Five

On the Monday we took a nostalgic trip to Hermanus. My maternal grandparents are buried at Hermanus and I spent many happy childhood holidays there, so for me it was a little journey into the past. We took the scenic route from Cape Town to Hermanus, driving alone the seashore. It really was the most stunningly beautiful drive I have ever taken.

road to Hermanus

Well apart from this chap - who spoilt the view somewhat ;-)

baboon
We made a short stop at Betty’s Bay to visit the penguin colony that has made its home in that area. There is something so comically appealing about penguins, I could watch them for hours. (Note to anyone planning a Cape trip – you’ll pay half the price to see the penguins if you go to Betty’s Bay instead of Boulders Bay in Simonstown)



penguin
Hermanus has grown enormously since I was last there. I feel that it has lost a lot of its quaint village-type character, but it is definitely geared up for the tourist market and has a lot to offer in that respect. We took things nice and slow, sitting at a charming cafĂ©’ near the old harbour and watching life go by and then wandering around the shops and the fleamarket. We also took a walk down to the old harbour, which is beautiful old harbour at Hermanus 1old harbour at Hermanus 2and then spent some time watching this particularly cheeky dassie.


dassie
Hermanus is acknowledged as the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. In whale season, from June to December, the town is abuzz with whale watchers as the Southern Right Whales return to our warmer coastal waters to mate, calve and rear their young. For a week in September the town is dedicated entirely to whales, when it hosts a Whale Festival .

Having spent a couple of happy hours in Hermanus, we headed to the oldest hotel in South Africa for lunch. The Houw Hoek Inn was always a favourite with my beloved Gran, she loved lunching there. So I thought it would be fitting, seeing as I was having a day for nostalgia, for us to do likewise. There is nothing at all fancy about the Inn, but I can’t think of a nicer, or more relaxing, place to have lunch.

Ever wondered what if feels like to sit atop a throne? Do yourself a favour and take a trip to the ladies loo at Houw Hoek Inn and you will wonder no more!

loo at Houw Hoek

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

6 word memoir tag

I was tagged by Linda of this and that for this tag


The Rules:

1) Write your own six-word memoir about yourself.


2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you'd like.


3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible, so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.


4) Tag five more blogs with links.


5) And don't forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

- my 6 word memoir is:
"HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN UNEXPECTED PLACES"


Anyone who wants to do this one - consider yourself tagged :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's your Real Age?

I did the free Real Age Test at this link. And I’m quite pleased to see that my real age is 38.7 as opposed to my actual age of 40. The test comes in the form of a series of questionnaires relating to your diet, exercise routine, relationships, health etc. At the end of the test the link to your results is emailed to you. The results come along with recommendations for improving your Real Age. I thought the recommendations were spot-on, it’s just implementing them that is the problem!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cape Trip - Part Four

On the Sunday we decided to take a drive out to Fairview Wine Estate, which is in the Paarl area. The Western Cape region is renowned for its wineries. There are numerous wine routes that you can drive along at your leisure, stopping at whichever wineries take your fancy. At the outset we had decided to skip the whole “Wine Route” thing and head to only one winery, choosing one which Paula would enjoy as much as Grant and I would. Fairview is an absolutely charming winery, complete with the cutest little goat tower to greet you as you arrive. They produce marvellous wines as well as delicious cheeses.


We had a fantastic time at Fairview. Paula loved watching the goats, Grant and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting wines - we fell in love with their “Bored Doe” (actually we loved most of the red wines, but Bored Doe was our favourite, favourite) and we all really enjoyed the cheese tasting and having lunch in The Goatshed. We left laden with wines, cheeses and T-shirts… how touristy can you get!



Please hop over and have a look at Cooksister’s posts here and here, in which she gives lots of fascinating information about Fairview and explains how the estate came to have a range of wine intriguingly called “Goats Do Roam”.

On our way back to Cape Town we drove through Stellenbosch, stopping for a browse through Oom Samie se Winkel (Afrikaans for Uncle Samie’s shop) – a fascinating old shop, which truly reflects how locals used to trade 100 years ago.



I must mention that most of the photos taken on our Cape trip were taken by Paula – thanks babe, you did a splendid job!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Doggone crazy

When I saw this on Lucy's blog I just had to do it, being as "dog crazy" as I am!

What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at Dogster.com
You are a Labrador Retriever! Your family is what makes you tick, and you never "flea" from an opportunity to hang out with the whole gang. A family picnic complete with hot dogs, deviled eggs and a refreshing swim in the lake is hard for you to stray from. Your sparky temperament and dogged intelligence mean you are not only a blast to hang out with, but great to work with as well. Your close pals appreciate your patience and forgiveness, knowing you'd rather let sleeping dogs lie than dwell on the mishaps of the past. Your dashing good looks may one day lead to a modelling career, if only you can tame the unfortunate clumsiness that sometimes causes you to go flailing from the catwalk.

So what kind of dog are you?

Friday, April 04, 2008

A family portrait of sorts


Would you believe that this is the only photo that exists of my little family as a group?! It was taken last Christmas.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

On being a mom......

There are times when being a mom is just.........hard. Letting your children go, watching them take risks, accepting that you can't always heal the hurts that they suffer, wanting to protect them and knowing that you can't; sometimes it tears at my heart in ways I never thought possible.

Today I wish they were little again and the biggest issue I had to deal with was a dirty nappy or a scraped knee. Dealing with vulnerable hearts and hurt feelings is just so much more challenging.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Royal Banana

I got this cute award from Marsha who blogs at Just Some Thoughts. Thanks Marsha!!

I'd like to pass this award on to:

Simone and Fee , they are both South African bloggers who have come to feel like friends.

I am busy ruminating on an updated bucket list - it's a lot more difficult than one would think!  The last time I created a bucket...