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Archive for June, 2011

hi folks, long time no blog!!! I have an excuse…..it’s called a holiday or in this instance a ‘trip’.  There was no holiday tagged on at the end….too much rushing around.

So here are the stats as worked out by my daughter:

11 days, 7 airplane flights, 4 of which: long haul flights, 5 airports, 3 provinces, 3 countries, 5 friends not seen in 10 years (or more), 21 family members, 3 Wimpy visits, 3 MilkyLane visits, 2 Spur visits, £77 spent on my phonebill (her phone bill…not mine), add to that 1 island (the UK), 2 continents, a lot of driving and very little sleep!!!  And 1 lost baggage!!!!

CJ at Wimpy in Johannesburg

What a trip. We flew out from Heathrow at 15:05 on 14th June first stop Doha in Qatar.  A short wait and then overnight to Johannesburg for a connecting flight to Durban where we were collected at the airport by my daughter’s father.  We spent 3 days in Durban visiting the old folks and then flew to Cape Town. Met at the airport by my sister and hubbie we met up with CJ’s friends at the Waterfront and eventually drove through to Somerset West where we stayed for 3 days and then to Johannesburg, again met at the airport by the ‘Daddy’, stayed at his place for a day (this was the only time we knew for sure it was winter-it was freezing), then off to stay at my sister’s house for a day, had supper and the kids all visited. Left Thursday23rd at 4pm for the 21:50 to Doha where we had an 11 hour lay-over and after 40 hours of no sleep we arrived at Heathrow at 22:23 Friday night!!!! sans my luggage!  “Oh, it got left behind in Johannesburg”. hurrumph!!!

Our transport went as such: taxi, bus, plane, bus, bus, plane, bus, car, legs, car, bus, plane, bus, car, bus, plane, bus, car, car, bus, plane, bus, bus, plane, bus, taxi….home!

We evaded elephants in the urban jungle of Durban,

elephants in Durban

watched monkeys climbing through the trees, got woken by the hah-dee-dah birds in the morning, paddled in the Indian Ocean, rode on a rickshaw,

a rickshaw ride

 saw sharks swimming about in the hold of an old delapidated boat that is now an amusement area, watched the lunar eclipse, walked on the beach at Gordon’s Bay,

Gordon's Bay

 strolled through the gardens in Cape Town, ate too much, had way too many milkshakes, a bit too much wine in Cape Town (my sister’s fault), a BBQ with family and friends, rubbish airline food, watched Blesbok running about and fighting in the veld,

blesbok in the veld....it was far away

watched the sunrise on at least 5 of the days, and sunsets on most, watched ‘Zeitgeist’ the movie in JNB (exceptionally great movie btw), and 4 movies on the planes: none of which I can remember the name of!

I traded-in my old trainers that I have had for 8 years for a new pair at Johannesburg airport domestic departures,

these shoes were made for walking......farewell old friends

bought 3 items of clothing in Cape Town and declared a no-more-buy policy at the prices, almost passed out from shock at the price of food and living in RSA compared to how it was a few years ago (now comparable or more than London), watched my budget go through the ceiling and was totally impressed by the level of service we received wherever we went.

We listened to stories and tales of life in RSA, then told our own, shared photos and captured more, caught up with old friends, made a few new ones, enjoyed quality time with the family; bemused at how quickly the kiddies are growing up and left just a teensy-weensy bit homesick……first time in almost 10 years, and considered the possibility that I may just be able to live in SA again….but only in spring and only for a short time….like a long holiday 🙂

We saw how bad the pollution is world-wide, and how blue the sky is above it, deserted deserts, lakes and dams, snaking rivers, the Black Sea (pretty damn awesome), the English Channel, the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Bahrain, snow on the mountains in Turkey, flew over Iraq (????), and Europe, walked in the Indian Ocean, saw the Atlantic Ocean from the air, massive mountain ranges in South Africa and spent 15 hours in the Middle East!

Doha Airport

So that was the trip……now for the holiday. Guernsey in August! yay.

oh! and p.s. the bag was delivered the next day! whew 🙂

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hahaha!!! sometimes it’s the fwd mails that get me…….

No NURSING HOME FOR me!!!

No nursing home for me.  I’ll be checking into a Holiday Inn!

With the average cost for a nursing home care costing $188.00 per day, there is a better way when we get old and too feeble.
I’ve already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn.  For a combined long term stay discount and senior discount, it’s $59.23 per night.

Breakfast is included, and some have happy hours in the afternoon.  That leaves  $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies.  Plus, they provide a spa, swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer-dryer, etc.

Most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap.

$5 worth of tips a day you’ll have the entire staff scrambling to help you.  They treat you like a customer, not a patient.
There’s a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free.  The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp).

To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays.  For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there.
While you’re at the airport, fly somewhere.  Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.
It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today.

And you’re not stuck in one place forever — you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city. Want to see  Hawaii?  They have Holiday Inn there too.

TV broken?  Light bulbs need changing?  Need a mattress replaced?  No problem.. They fix everything,  and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are ok.  If not, they’ll call an ambulance . . . or the undertaker. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.
And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and probably check in for a few days mini-vacation.  The grandkids can use the pool..

What more could I ask for?  So, when I reach that golden age, I’ll face it with a grin and check-in at the Holiday Inn 🙂 see ya!

 

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It’s the simple things in life.  I have often posted a blog with content that I receive via email from my sister. This is one of those!!!

A little girl had been shopping with her Mum in Woolies. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there, under the awning, just inside the door of the Woolies. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.

I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world.  Memories of running, splashing, so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, ‘Mum let’s run through the rain,’ she said.
‘What?’ Mum asked.
‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated.
‘No, darling, we’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mum replied.
This young child waited a minute and repeated: ‘Mum, let’s run through the rain.’
‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mum said.
‘No, we won’t, Mum. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mum’s arm.
‘This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?’
‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If we can get through this, we can get through anything!

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one left. The Mum paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.

Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

‘Darling, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If we get wet, well maybe we just need washing,’ Mum said.
Then off they ran.

We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles.

They got soaked.
They were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran.  I got wet.  I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health.

But no one can ever take away your precious memories… So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

To everything in life there is a season and a time & reason to every purpose…….
I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.

enjoy the rain

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I got a text from my daughter this morning: “Sunday morning wishlist: memory cards, fisheye lens, camera that can do low aperture, spare battery. Yours? :)”

this text made perfect sense to me since she is an aspiring photographer (and a very good one I might add).

My response to this text was: “tea and cupcakes with my daughter!”

she responded with a text to say…be serious, it must be something you want…. and I wrote back to say I was!  that is what I would want!! (and a campervan) and after a couple of smiley faces back and forth it suddenly struck me at how things change as you get older.

The things you want become more about time; time to spend with loved ones, time to share and time to do rather than have!

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Versatile Blogger Award

I have some great news that I’m thrilled to share you!  My blog has been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by Olga SE at Self Expression. I have been communicating with Olga via our blogs for some time now and we have shared stories about our respective countries, and she did a lovely piece about St Petersburg just for me when I expressed an interest to visit there.
This is the first time I have received a blogging award and was absolutely delighted to receive the award from Olga, and this has inspired me to continue sharing news about the wonderful city I live in and about the random things that happen in my life and in the world that interest me. It seems like a great way to recognise blogs we enjoy and I’m going to complete all the requirements the award entails though I’m not pressured in any way to that
1. Thank the blogger who gave the award and link to his or her blog. I’ve done that.
2. Share seven things about yourself.    Hmmmm, what can I share
. I started blogging back in November 2008 after receiving complaints from my family and friends that my emails were too long and too frequent. 🙂  So after much encouragement from my daughter, I decided to give blogging a go and share my adventures with the wider world.  Once I got started I discovered many other fantastic blogs along the way and now subscribe to a wide variety of those, from New Zealand to Canada I get to learn about fabulous holidays to foreign destinations, gardens and the wonderful creatures that inhabit them, travelling, Social Media, photography and much much more.
.  I have a wonderful daughter who is an inspiration to me.
.  My passion is London and travel and my dream is to travel around the world in a yellow VW campervan, blogging and taking photos of everything I see (and getting paid to do it).
.  One of my goals is to visit 100 islands and to date I have visited 15.
.  I enjoy photography and hope to one day become a published photographer, although I have already have a published book of London photographs, they are personal to me and I would like to improve on them.
.  I enjoy writing poetry and wrote a poem once about a little boy called Panashe whose mother had died of cholera in Zimbabwe. I saw the story and his photo in a newspaper article, that inspired me to write the poem.  I mentioned the photographer; Robin Hammond who had taken the photo, and she contacted me afterwards which was really exciting.
. In 4 months time I will celebrate 10 years since my arrival in this country, a huge undertaking at the time and something I have never regretted. I love the UK and London with a passion that has never dimmed since I looked out the window of the Piccadilly line to Heathrow and thought “I could live here”. and now I do 🙂

3. Pass the award along to other bloggers whose work you enjoy and link to them. I will do that with pleasure as now I know quite a number of bloggers who are really versatile and deserve this award. (Olga passed the award along to 15 bloggers!) wow 🙂

This is my list:

TEStazyk  – Thomas provides a down to earth and humorous point of view on happenings in the world, as well as superb stories about his travels and life in New Zealand.

Jenny B –  the zingy romp through life of a single Mom who delights in her family.

Matt M  –  my Canterbury pal, whom I met through the blog about my Canterbury Tales. Matt has a passion for travel and unearthing the most amazing snippets of historical information about Chaucer and his journey to Canterbury.

Cemanthe H – with a passion for photography, she shares some of the most amazing photos that pique the interest, inspire you to stop and think and make you want to find out more!

Ivonne M – who shares her thoughts, feelings and experiences over a truely versatile range of subjects with a vivid passion.
 
James C – who has some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen of Australia.  James is a traveller of note with a quirky sense of humour and a passion for creating movies.

Barbara W – discovering the world, one culture at a time; some of the most amazing adventures and visiting some awesome places in the world.

Brenda H – inspires me with her marvellous tales of the garden.  Whenever I read one of her articles I want to go right out and build a garden! So one day when I have a house of my own with a garden I will be avidly reading her blog.

Vivienne B – real life parenting, a blog that shares life with her family with an intimate intensity that sometimes reduces me to tears, a sometime humourous, sometimes searing insight of what it is like to be Mom to 4 teenagers.

Kristie W – who blogs about a very sensitive issue in life; something that we are all at one time or another affected by. She writes in a practical and open way providing insights and guidance.

You are free to do whatever you want with the award: you can pretend it doesn’t exist or write a post about it. Whichever way you choose, please don’t feel obliged to pass on the award, it is not necessary at all. Only do it if you feel like doing it.

4. Comment on their blogs to tell them of the award.

That’s it folks.   Thanks to all of you for sharing your fabulous stories.

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