Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blowing in the wind ¸.•*""*•.¸¸ ¸¸.•*"

My neighbour and dearest friend for the last 30 years recently moved to the Karoo to be nearer to her extended family and her childhood roots. Their house here was sold in January but they only had to give occupation by the end of this year at the latest. Sorting through rooms and cupboards only started in earnest about two to three months before they moved out. Unexpectedly, my friend's husband ended up in hospital for over a month and when he returned home, was unable to assist with anything. My poor friend had to sort through absolutely everything, from garage to husband's study to the roof. In the end, she became quite frantic. We drove carloads of goods to the recycling dump for her. Luckily, the movers did the packing for her. She tells me now that, on the other side in the Karoo, as she unpacks, she is still giving and throwing away!

After observing this nightmare, we have resolved that, slowly but surely, we are going to go through our accumulated possessions and start divesting ourselves. As we have plenty of time until the day when the property market improves, we put our house on the market and we sell, we can experiment with selling items which we feel still have value. So, today we went to a Car  Boot sale.

We arrived at 7.30 am, unpacked all our goods and then had to hastily cover up everything with a small tarpaulin, which we happened to have with us, and sit in the car for an hour of pouring rain. The rain was too heavy to even consider getting out to pack everything back into the car. We cursed our stupidity at not observing the heavy clouds and the direction of the gentle breeze, which would have indicated the imminent arrival of rain.

Finally, the sun came out and we spent a few happy hours chatting to other stallholders, touring other tables (with determination not to buy anything) and periodically flipping the wet pages of some books and magazines which had not stayed dry under the cover. The trade was not brisk. I think most people stayed tucked up in bed on a rainy morning.

I was happy to sell off 30 Agapanthus plants at a discount bulk price of R100 and then various other little sales saw us taking home a total of R270. Not a fortune, but what fun to make a sale, chat to browsers and return home to some empty spaces in the cupboards.

On arrival at home, we spread the still wet magazines and books on our driveway and left them blowing in the wind to dry out while we drank our tea and counted our multiple gains!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Timelines with Google Earth

I just LOVE Google Earth. 
You can fly around the world and  even zip back into the past! 
I used it to create 2 pictorial timelines for our smallholding (red marker).

On close inspection 2007 - 2009

The Big picture 2007 - 2009

Monday, October 17, 2011

Proverbial Wit

Roy is one of those rare people who never seems to need food and is incredibly thin. Apart from all the obvious advantages, one plus point seems to be his ability to go walking on a boiling hot day (with his dog, naturally) and not feel too overwhelmed by the heat. It always brings this Noel Coward song to mind, and hence the name of this blog.

Noel Coward made the changes to an Indian proverb from the days of English colonialism and came up with the Gilbert and Sullivan type lyrics and music for this song in about 1932.  According to Wikipedia, the song was composed, without benefit of pen, paper, or piano, while Mr. Coward was driving through Vietnam from Hanoi to Saigon. The song was sung by Mr. Coward himself on CBS TV.  I do have an old record of it somewhere but perhaps one might find it somewhere on the internet as a downloadable let me know if you find it....what fun!

The lyrics for Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Noel Coward
In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire,
     to tear their clothes off and perspire.
It's one of those rules that the biggest fools obey,
Because the sun is much too sultry and one must avoid
     its ultry-violet ray --
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they're obviously, absolutely nuts --
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don't care to, the Chinese wouldn't dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen detest a siesta,
In the Philippines there are lovely screens,
     to protect you from the glare,
In the Malay states there are hats like plates,
     which the Britishers won't wear,
At twelve noon the natives swoon, and
     no further work is done -
But Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see,
That though the British are effete,
     they're quite impervious to heat,
When the white man rides, every native hides in glee,
Because the simple creatures hope he will
     impale his solar topee on a tree.
It seems such a shame that when the English claim the earth
That they give rise to such hilarity and mirth -
Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun.
They put their scotch or rye down, and lie down.
In the jungle town where the sun beats down,
     to the rage of man or beast,
The English garb of the English sahib merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok, at twelve o'clock, they foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this stupid habit.
In Hong Kong, they strike a gong, and fire off a noonday gun.
To reprimand each inmate, who's in late.
In the mangrove swamps where the python romps
     there is peace from twelve till two.
Even caribous lie down and snooze, for there's nothing else to do.
In Bengal, to move at all, is seldom if ever done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunshine on my shoulders.....

October 2011

We went up to the plot last week for a few days in this short school holiday. Our tasks were to finish painting some second-hand railings with NS4 and to oil some second-hand wood with Linseed oil. This is all in preparation for Roy constructing a deck on the side of our building. We also painted the second-hand staircase, which we will adapt to give access to this deck. (I just LOVE  !!)   

Spring is definitely in full swing!

Harry Pickstone plums. I wanted to remove them all to save the tree's strength (we probably wont be around to pick the ripe fruit) but my neighbour dissuaded me and I made him promise to pick the ripe fruit for himself in December.
Brown Salvia Africana-lutea blossoms
I was thrilled to see the blossoms on the Wild Pear (Dombeya Rotundifolia) and the Keurbooms (Virgilia Oboroides). 

Wild Pear

One Keurboom, in particular, was just loaded down with pink blossoms. 
I begin to wonder if this one is rather Virgilia divaricata
instead of Virgilia orborides

We tracked down John via the bushman grapevine and he turned up the next day, after first helping to bury a neighbour's dog which had died from biliary a few days previously. (We also learned of the death of a local sheepdog. A driver from the area finally snapped at his habit of trying to round up any moving vehicle on the road and just drove over the dog. Sad. ) 

John's tasks for us included continuation of brick cleaning with Spirits of Salts and then sealing the bricks against the weather. The builders made such a mess with the cement on bricks, that this has been an everlasting task and it is still not completed. (We have to clean off and seal the bricks inside the building too).  He did complete one task from our previous trip though: sealing the top of the walls with membrane and sealant.

Membrane and sealant on top of brick walls for rain-proofing.

In between all of this, we socialised with neighbours and enjoyed the delight of some surprising spring sights which included Roy stripping to underclothes (sadly I did not have the camera at hand), pulling on gumboots, and wading into some of the dams to harvest the last remnants of the Waterblommetjies which the locals had not managed to reach in their pickings. Washed, cleaned and frozen in my freezer here now, I will use them for a delicious Waterblommetjie bredie once I acquire some stewing lamb. mmmmm 

Our neighbours loaded us up with goose eggs in an effort to keep their population down. These are the descendants of the original two we gave them in 2008. The original male died mysteriously within minutes after swimming in the dam one day, the replacement male was carried off in a sack, in broad daylight, by a bandito and, recently, the original female plus all their ducks were gradually carried off in the night by a suspected dog and/or otter. Nevertheless, the geese continue to flourish. 

We returned home on Saturday in time to watch the Springboks lose to Australia in the rugby, and to give last minute assistance to my dearest friend and neighbour of 25+ years, as she left our village on Sunday morning to start a new life in the Karoo.