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Archive for the ‘me and Peanut’ Category

I took my precious BooBee on an action packed adventure today. He’s so much fun and an absolute joy to be with.

He had ice-cream on the beach, jumped and did head rolls on a trampoline, rode on a merry-go-round, went on a pirate swing boat, jumped on a bouncy castle and played a game of table tennis πŸ“

We stopped for lunch and rested a bit. Afterwards we walked through the harbour and to the beach where we built a stone pile and paddled in the sea before covering him up with sand.

We then climbed the cliff path and stopped on the way to look for dinosaurs in the chalk and draw his and my name with chalk

From there we went to the funfair where he enjoyed a pirate stage show and a couple of rides on a bouncy slide.

A fantastic day all round and we (read me πŸ‘΅πŸ») covered 9 kms…most of which he was sitting on my shoulders. Entered my kms to the Conqueror Kruger Park challenge and boom πŸ’₯ another post card!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Kruger National Park

Having left Hluhluwe my first stop was the Manyoni Private Game Reserve.  Privately owned and one of the largest reserves in Kwazulu-Natal, Manyoni was established in 2004 when 17 landowners dropped their fences and opened up their lands to create a protected area for wildlife.  One of the main drivers was to create a release site for a founding group of black rhinos as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP).  

The project is a collaboration between Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  Their aim is to transfer black rhinos from provincial and national parks where they are at capacity to privately and community owned sites where they can continue repopulating under protection.  Black rhinos once roamed much of Africa and had a population of 100,000 as late as the 1960s.  Over the next 25 years the population diminished by 97% leaving a mere 2450 rhinos that were under protection in small reserves putting them on the critically endangered list.  

However, with the aid of BRREP and sites like Manyoni the population is slowly growing.  Manyoni has also reintroduced endangered cheetahs and African wild dogs whilst also focusing on conserving the landscape and ecosystem. 

The next location is the Zimanga Private Game Reserve.  Originally known as Hlambanyathi Game Reserve, the game on site were nearly all wiped out due to neglect and poaching.  All that was left was 7 zebras, 1 wildebeest and some impalas and warthogs.  In 1998 Charl Senekal, a sugar cane farmer, purchased the estate the reserve was a part of.  He rebuilt the game reserve, fenced it and expanded the land.  Over a period of time he reintroduced animals that were historically present in the area. Today it has 80 species of mammals including giraffe, buffalo, rhino, elephant, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, nyala, hippo, cheetah and lions.    

The final reserve in Kwazulu-Natal was the Pongola Game Reserve.  This 31,000 hectares reserve is over a century old and the first proclaimed reserve in Africa.  Within its reserve is the 15,000 hectare Lake Jozini (aka Pongolapoort Dam).  Besides typical game species, the reserve also has four of the Big Five: elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.  

The lake primarily used for irrigation is fed by the Phongolo River which runs right through the Pongolo Reserve.  Dammed in 1973, the lake is home to the pink-backed and great white pelicans, the Nile crocodiles and hippos.  The dam also supports more than 350 bird species such as Pel’s fishing owl, the green and red Narina Trogon and the red-beaked, black and white Saddle-billed Stork.

The Space for Elephant Foundation are also working at the Pongola Reserve aiming to create a habitat for more than 1000 elephants and re-establish an old migration route.   Baby twin elephants,  Dingane and Shaka were born at Pongola in 2014.  Twins are extremely rare, as little as 0.5% of elephant births worldwide, making these twins extremely special at Pongola.

I’ve now completed 94 kms of the Kruger Park challenge

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I love travelling and I mostly enjoy my job; especially if the client is nice and we get along well together for the period of mu booking. I’m very lucky that my job as a Carer takes me all over the UK, although mostly in England now that I have my beloved grandson to spend time with. But I always enjoy coming home and it is a joy to be have my time to myself and to take my BooBee on outings; either to the park or the beach, or on a train trip.

Today was one such day…it was bliss to be able to just get up when it suited me and so I made the most of it and stayed in bed till 11am, drinking tea and faffing around on social media, and of course keeping a beady eye on my dogecoins!! When to buy? Or sell? That is the eternal question LOL Sometimes I get it right, others not so much!!

When I eventually roused myself from my cosy nest, I logged straight onto my computer to continue writing about my recent Thames Path walk….well I didn’t quite get that far LOL Instead I spent the rest of the day updating my budget spreadsheets, planning my future walks along the SSW, the ECP, further stages of WTP….and calculating the relevant costing. Oh and planning a trip to Malta for a week in November (depending on and further lockdown and covid-19 issues).

At about 5pm I walked over to the family for tea and hot-cross buns and then the 4 of us walked over to the park as requested by the BooBee. He decided he wanted to ride on my shoulders, and so for a short way we jogged along. It’s a good thing I can still carry him on my shoulders and it’s good fun…he loves it.

travels with Granny
Riding on ‘Anny’s shoulders – isn’t his hair glorious!!

He had loads of fun at the park. First we stopped to look at the cherry blossom tree which was abundantly covered in blossoms, much of which was already carpeting the ground.

Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
my joy
inspecting the blossoms
inspecting the blossoms

He is still so tiny. I often forget that he’s only just gone two, because he is so intelligent with extraordinary levels of comprehension and understanding, that he always seems so much older to me.

Then we meandered over to the climbing frames where ‘Anny (me) reverted to her childhood and decided to walk along the chains….and that ended as well as what you would expect LOL

Anny really should know better LOL

Then we went over to the swings where he made friends with another little boy, climbed the rock-wall, had a few slides…I showed him how to go down on his tummy. He really is up for anything, and is so trusting that we won’t let him come to harm. He got all sad when the little boy left and lay down on the ground to indicate his dismay…

at the park
so sad his little friend left 😦

Time for a quick family selfie

the joy of family
the joy of family

A storm was brewing on the horizon with big black clouds building, so before it started to rain we left for home….and decided to order in so Mummy didn’t have to cook. There was a marvellous thunderstorm with the accompanying thunder and lightening and so I played him some AC DC ‘Thunderstruck’….seemed like a good idea LOL and I gave him a headbanging demonstration. Not my finest hour….he looked on in amazement…poor kid; growing up with a loon for a Granny. He did however enjoy the AC DC – clever kid!!

Now I’m home, preparing for a trip to Deal tomorrow for my 2nd vaccine jab and I’m taking the BooBee with me to make it an outing for the day, then he and I can take a stroll along the English Coast Path and he can make that the start of his #travelswithGranny although we have had quite a few adventures already…

walking the English Coast Path at Deal
walking the English Coast Path at Deal

as a footnote, in case you are unaware: SSW = Saxon Shore Way. ECP = English Coast Path and of course WTP = Walking the Thames Path….but you may have guessed that.

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It all started sooo well….

I decided it would be a good idea to make pancakes with the Boobee for Shrove Tuesday. I had an image in my mind, you know…like a gentle, calm Granny and grandson bonding…like you see in the movies – except I didn’t bank on the 2 year old having his own ideas about baking.

The picture of innocent excitement πŸ€”πŸ€”

It started so well… β˜Ίβ€πŸ’™ I collected all the equipment, and gathered up the ingredients….the 2 year old getting quite excited about the prospect of ‘pancakes’ although he had absolutely noooo idea what they are, he just loved the sound of it all. 😁😁

Behind the scenes his parents were snickering, their hands covering their mouths as they tried to contain their amusement…they knew what was coming. πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

We settled down at the table and I measured out the flour, explaining what I was doing, but before I could blink my eyes…it descended very quickly into chaos, with handsful of flour on the and table flying everywhere!!! I desperately tried to keep control of the situation, to no avail.

So far so good, I just added extra flour…
Spoons whirling, we mixed away

Suddenly, and with no warning, he 8swooped in with his hand and lifted a gloop of batter and started painting the table 😱😱🀣🀣🀣🀣

hands in quick as a flash
At this point, I gave up and watched…
and the mess is total

I was laughing so much…intially with shock and then with bemusement. It was just hilarious. The carpet will have to be washed…I eventually recovered what was left of the first batch and hurriedly decamped to the kitchen. Meanwhile the parents cleaned up the chaos and popped him in the bath – I needed a bath!! 😁😁

With the chaos reigned in (safely in the bath πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄) I prepared a 2nd batter mix and started making the first batch of a very unique blend of pancakes…a la Boobee!! 🀭🀭🀭 They were perfect…😊

Mummy had cut up some banana and strawberries, melted white chocolate and made up some sugar and cinnamon, as well as some yummy dairy free ice-cream.

I think he enjoyed the pancakes πŸ’™πŸ’™

He loved the pancakes and made short work of them with nutella, strawberries and bananas, and ice-cream. Of course he was quite hyper afterwards, what with all the sugar in the chocolate…good luck to the parents, I can go home πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

You just never know what you’re going to get with a 2 year-old, but I can say for sure, I haven’t laughed like that in a long time.

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Just look at this child’s hair!! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ he was as bald as an egg when born, but we could see the haze of red coming through.

2 years later and it’s a strawberry blonde mop of curls and absolutely beautiful.

He’s developing into the cutest, funniest, most energetic ball of delight. He gets ever so excited when I visit. He’s learning to talk and the words flow like lava atm, but some sounds still defeat him…he calls me ‘Anny instead of Granny, and I love it.

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Two years ago today, at exactly 12:46 this precious little cherub came into our lives, and in an instant my baby became a Mummy, and I became a Granny. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Just a wee scrap
Skin time with Granny
Special times πŸ‘΅πŸ»πŸ’™πŸ‘ΆπŸ»

Its been an amazing journey ever since – he lights up my life, bringing so much love, joy and laughter. From a tiny wee scrap, he’s now a super hero who builds snowmen and keeps me fit on the beach.

Spiderman!!!
Building his first snowman
A photoshoot on the beach by createdwithlightphotography

Wishing my beautiful, funny, crazy, adventurous, smart and joyful grandson a very happy 2nd birthday, you are most precious to me πŸŽ‚πŸŽπŸŽŠπŸŽ‰2️⃣

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Well, would you just look at that!! Just over 24 hours to go (UK time) and we say goodbye to 2020. I can hardly believe it.

Not that the new year, 2021 is going to start off very well at all with now 8 in 10 people in the UK going into tier 4 and virtual lockdown. Although 2020 didn’t do too well at all, 2021 is not going to get off to a very good start.

To say I’m peeved at our useless government would be an understatement because tomorrow brings the double whammy of the final twist of the Brexit knife and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to really give this year a bad name. And do I believe our feckless PM when he spouts out his nonsense about having got a good deal?? No. I do not.

Meanwhile I, like millions of others, am trying desperately to keep my head and not fall into the pit of despair at the way life seems to be spiralling out of control. To that end I’m not watching the news nor reading the papers and still off Facebook. I am however spending quality time with my family and walking….walking and walking. I’m also grateful to still have work.

Although I only started in April, having the Conqueror virtual challenges has been a bit of a life saver really because keeping up with my targets gets me out, and the walking, which I love, keeps me sane.

I’m nearly at the end of the 2020 challenge and yesterday I completed the Mt. Fuji challenge after a fantastic walk from Margate to Herne Bay 22.18 kms. Although it was bloody freezing, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and was not only surprised at how quickly I walked the distance, but also at how easy it was.

I’ve long wanted to walk from Broadstairs to Reculver after visiting the Roman site a few years ago, so it was absolutely thrilling to finally make the journey, albeit only from Margate. Except for one very short section, there is a promenade/footpath and the sea the whole way. The final section to Herne Bay was a breeze…literally and figuratively. I nearly froze πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ it was so darn cold – at one stage I was sucking my thumb just to get some warmth back into it.

Fortunately the cafeteria at Reculver was open so I stopped for 15 minutes to rest my feet and warm up with a hot chocolate and a yummy caramel fudge brownie…delicious.

Herne Bay is a fascinating place with so much history, not all of it good. But they do have some fantastic fish and chips shops….😁😁 I have to give a shout out to Gary of EKS Office Equipment in Herne Bay for not only agreeing to charge my phone (for free) but also allowed me to sit in a corner of the showroom to eat my chips while I waited. It was very much appreciated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, despite the cold, the saddest sight was the vast amount of plastic pollution that quite literally lined the whole 22kms….I could have filled 50 black bags and still not cleared it all. Its terribly painful to see all that pollution.

So as the year comes to an end, I have one final day of walking to do to finish my 2020 km challenge. Its been a most satisfying pastime and I must thank my daughter for introducing me to the Conqueror Virtual Challenges….thanks to that I have improved my fitness levels, walked extensively in areas I would likely have not except for wanting to meet the challenge of the challenges πŸ˜‰ and I’ve inadvertently accumulated way more medals than I had planned. Its been a fairly expensive hobby, but so much fun.

I’ve started on the Alps to Ocean, NZ challenge and hopefully tomorrow I’ll complete another decent distance as my final walk for 2020.

Other than that, I have finally found a suitable place to rent. Went to look at a room last night….and as Goldilocks said “it’s just right ” and I’m saying “It’ll do Pooh” πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ It’s not a huge room, but it’s on the top floor, its spacious, it has cupboards, and a bed, and a skylight for summer nights, and a desk for my books and computer and MOST importantly, the landlord said Jamie can visit. So HOORAH!!! after 18months I’ll have a place to go ‘home’ to. I’m feeling quite emotional. It means I can get my clothes out of storage, and my books and Jamie’s toys and my amazing South African mattress. I can brighten it up with my own bed linen and pictures and bits and bobs.

Today we had a photoshoot done. The fab photographer of @createdwithlightphotography on Instagram did the shoot for me with my gorgeous grandson. We had lots of fun and then had hot chocolate to warm up, because of course it was freezing on the beach. β˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈ

Me and my boobee πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Tomorrow, weather depending I’ll walk from Ramsgate to Margate one last time before I tackle the next section of my own challenge….to walk the whole of the English coast within next 5 years.

Cheers folks, thanks for reading along with me. In case I don’t get to write a post tomorrow, although I probably will, I wish you all a VERY safe, healthy and wonderful New Year.

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There is nothing more precious to me than hearing my grandson from behind the door saying “G’anny” when I ring the doorbell and then seeing that beautiful little face lit up with a smile. And a cuddle follows close behind β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸ’™

He is my absolute joy….

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I finished knitting this little matinee jacket for my soon to be born grandson πŸ’™β˜Ί

balls of wool and a set of needles
An intricate pattern
Making progress
5 pieces completed
They all come together
And it’s done πŸ˜ƒπŸ’™πŸ‘ΆπŸ»

6 weeks before he was born I completed the jacket. This little item was one of many little cardigans and jackets I knitted for his layette. I love knitting and it was such a joy to prepare these little items for him.

When my daughter was a baby, I knitted a full set of dress, jacket and bootees in green, using the same pattern. Continuity. I’ve still got the set in storage.

And continuing with the same pattern, I knitted a blanket for my daughter. It was meant to have been knitted while she was in labour, but as it turned out, the birth went very differently to what we anticipated and I participated in his birth right from the first contractions till he took his first breath.

And so the blanket took a tad longer than expected….like 18 months longer. But eventually it was done

And its done πŸ˜ƒ

It’s now being used for when he goes out in his pram

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Sounds like the name of a band….😁

If I remember correctly, I think there is a band with a similar name….Smashing Pumpkins?? Which sounds just as much fun, albeit a lot messier than carving pumpkins πŸŽƒ

Its amazing how many British traditions we have been introduced to since living here for the last 19 years.

Although we came late to the tradition and have only carved a pumpkin once before, now that my grandson is older we’ve introduced him to the tradition and the fun of carving a pumpkin for Halloween.

Growing up in the UK, I’m pretty certain that this won’t be the last time we carve a pumpkin, and it will become a new family tradition.

My daughter bought the pumpkins a few days ago and yesterday we sat in the garden, thankfully it wasn’t raining, and carved our pumpkins.

Daddy of course honoured the boobee with his name and I went for the more traditional scary face, and for good measure and keeping it contemporary, I also carved out the word Covid…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Its current news, so I had to.

We left them outside to start drying out, a hopeless endeavour since the weather is so grim, but they were sufficiently dried by evening. Daddy sourced some candles and lights off, candles in and we had our ‘scary’ Halloween.

The boobee was more interested in retrieving the candles and ‘blowing’ them out than the actual pumpkin faces….πŸ€”πŸ€”

A lovely family day.

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One of the very first buildings I noticed from the taxi when I arrived in Lewes 2 weeks ago, was this amazing place

I’m totally smitten with this place
The 15th century bookshop 😍😍

I only caught a glimpse of it as we rode past but that was enough to tickle my fancy…..and the very next day, during my break I set out to explore. And I’ve had plenty of adventures….

But I determined that I simply had to visit this bookshop, only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at least once while I was here.  So yesterday, after visiting the Lewes Castle and the Martyrs Memorial, I popped in for a visit on my way back to the house.

Bought by the current owner in 1986, the stock consists of thousands of second-hand and collectors’ books, from rare and collectable to recent over a wide range of topics and interests. Its amazing that the same person has owned the shop over 30 years!! Wowww.

The interior of the shop, smelt musty with the dust of aeons. It was deliciously cramped with books overflowing their shelves and stacked high on the floor. Books from decades ago piled up in a kaleidoscope of ancient dust jackets and calligraphy.
Sheer heaven for a book worm; metaphorically and I’m pretty certain…actually. How the owner ever finds a requested copy is anyone’s guess, but I’m willing to bet she knows where everything is.
I had the audacity to ask if she had a particular book from 2019, and in a very dour voice she replied “I only sell old books”.  Brilliant. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰ Of course…2019 is so last year…

And of course you can’t visit a 15th century bookshop and not buy some books… Obviously I had to buy a couple for himself who loves books, although lord knows he already has a massive collection. The Rupert Bear book is a 1984 edition, and the Bobbsey Twins from 1959!! I could have bought another 15 at least, but reason prevailed, I’d have to lug them all back to Ramsgate next week…

However if I ever find myself in Lewes again, I will be sure to pop in and buy a few more. Delicious. I love books and really wish I could have spent a few hours there looking through the shelves. But with Covid-19, and only 3 customers in the shop at a time, there was a young man waiting patiently outside…

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