Woodburning Bliss!

Winter has been a bit stop start so far this year but we're not complaining as it's not been as cold and wet as normal (although the dams are surprisingly full). Having said that the weather took a turn for the worse today and it's been raining quite a bit with a strong and cold northwesterly wind blowing.

It's times like this we're really grateful for our woodburning stove!
I had the pleasure of taking our Trail-a-bike into school today to talk to Eli's class as well as Nursery and Reception.

Eli was my very able assistant and helped to show how the trail-a-bike works. The kids particularly like the flag at the back and guessed correctly as to its purpose. After discussing a bit of bike safety we went to the car park where I gave rides to those who had a helmet with them (thankfully only a few did so my legs were saved).

Bottlebrush Tree

Our Bottlebrush tree is finally back in bloom again. Last year it was a major disappointment with hardly any blooms so it spent most of the year bare and looking scraggy.

This tree isn't actually native to South Africa so we shouldn't celebrate it but we do because we like it. There's a big drive in SA to remove all plants known as 'alien invaders' as they have a detrimental impact upon the indigenous vegetation and the water table. Thankfully however the Bottlebrush tree doesn't have a big thirst so there's no need to get rid of it.

Here's some info from a horticultural website: Bottlebrush is a small but spectacular evergreen tree or shrub. Of the family Myrtaceae it is well known as Callistemon or Bottlebrush Tree. It is easy to grow and loves warmth, moisture and sun. Bottlebrush is native to Australia mostly growing in moist soil in open or woodland sites.

Eli The Stuntman

Jackass The Movie has nothing on us!

Bike Races

Here's a sight that warms my heart!

It seems like my boys haven't ridden their bikes for a while, partly because the weather hasn't been great but also because Eli's bike was broken and I only just got around to fixing it.

The weather was perfect this afternoon at 24°C (it was freezing this morning) so with their fixed bikes both boys were off charging up and down the drive on their bikes. I pity the neighbours as the boys don't tend to do things quietly especially when they're competing in their own bike races.

Dancing Skeleton

Joel and his Dancing Skeleton, additional silliness provided by Eli
We've just had a wonderfully relaxing couple of nights away at Buttonquail Nature Reserve about 30 minutes from home. This was the prize dean won in the parents bike race at the boy's school recently. We knew Buttonquail was remote but weren't prepared for just how remote! As we began the descent into the valley we realised that simply popping back into town was not a realistic option so we felt forced to stay put. Shame! Amazingly in this modern age the reserve has no electricity other than a bit of solar generated stuff for night lights and there was no cell phone reception. Fantastic!!!!!!

The weather has improved in the last 24 hours so we've been able to do some essential weatherproofing work on two of our church members houses.

Both were leaking really badly in the recent rains making life for their occupiers horrible. One of the families suffered so badly that one of the children is now in Hottentots hospital with a respiratory infection.

Michael was an absolute star and joined me yesterday and today to do the jobs. I couldn't have done any of it without him.

Hope In Despair

I've been going into Chris Nissen Park for five years now and I love the place and the folk that live there. I've seen it in all its splendour and grottiness but today it was the bleakest and most depressing I have ever seen it.

Many of the houses are soaked inside because the construction is so poor the water seeps in through the foundations. The top soil from the gardens and surrounding land is being washed away leaving brown rivers flowing down the roads. It's impossible to walk anywhere in the community without getting very wet feet!


The driver of this car got into an unfortunate pickle yesterday while it was chucking it down.

Apparently the access road was so flooded it was not visible so the driver had to take a chance as to where the road might be. Sadly he made the wrong choice, much to the amusement of the garage staff.
Whilst the rain is seasonal and desperately needed I fail to share the average South African's view that it's a good thing. I guess my Britishness has taught me to loathe the rain from the first drop to the last. However, the dams are very low so we need a lot of rain over the next couple of months to prepare for summer.

One of the things I don't get here is that life virtually shuts down for so many folk. Certainly my cycling buddies think I'm mad as I'm willing to ride in all weathers. But as I often explain, in Blighty if you let the rain stop you from doing stuff you'd never get anything done.

The two leaks in our roof seem to have stopped, we're wondering whether they were exceptional leaks as the rain was coming horizontally on the wind at times. Time will tell.

Pirate Experience

After a great morning in church we took the boys for a half-term treat to the Boswell Wilkie Circus Pirate experience just outside Cape Town. Wow, what a show! The boys were spell bound by it and were on the edge of their seats all the way through.

It was a real surprise for the boys and we smuggled along all their pirate dressing up clothes so they were able to get into role for the show.

Dean really appreciated the skill of the jugglers whilst we all marveled at the sheer athleticism of all the performers. If the circus is ever passing your way make it a priority to go and see!

Cape Eagle Owl

We quite often have an owl sitting on our roof just after sunset so this evening I was able to quietly slip out, set the camera up and get a photo of it.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to focus 100% but still got an OK shot. The shutter was on 10secs at f5.6 and an ISO of 800. The shutter was so long that if you look carefully you can see how he moved his head.

5th Blogoversary

We've been running this blog for exactly five years today at 3:11pm, see us at Blogoversary. When we started blogging we were aiming specifically at family and friends but beyond that we can't really remember what we were hoping for the blog or what it would end up looking like, but five years on we're quite pleased with what the blog has achieved and how it looks today.

Thicko - Not!

Just did this for a bit of fun:

Free-IQTest.net - IQ Test

Go on, give it a go.

Paula's Birthday

This morning we celebrated Paula's birthday by going out for breakfast at Jenna Viva's a local coffee shop in Somerset West. We had a wonderful time and the food was excellent!

Paula celebrated with a glass of bubbles whilst the boys had huge bacon and maple syrup flapjack stackers. Eli ordered seconds!

Daddy settled for a full English breakfast and wasn't disappointed. The grilled banana added a slightly unusual dimension to it.

We both loved the loose leaf Rooibos tea which also came with an hour glass timer to ensure the leaves didn't over infuse. The boys loved playing with the timer.

We're Back

Our few days away in Greyton were fantastic for a number of reasons. Firstly, we're really jealous of our family time and guard it carefully. Secondly, we all relaxed very quickly and enjoyed just chillin' together, we really enjoy just being with each other. Finally, Greyton is a gem of a village with friendly locals and some of the best cafes and restaurants to be found anywhere in SA. The two highlights of our time eating there were Vanilla Cafe and Peccadillos Bistro both of which provide sublime food at very reasonable prices. Vanilla have hit it just right in how they cater for families and the more sophisticated clientele. The garlic soup at Peccadillos was amazing.

We're Off

We're just off for three lovely nights in Greyton, one of the overnight stops on the Cape Epic. Man we're all in desperate need of this break!

No more posts until we get back.