Doing something new

Yesterday we visited Intaka Island, a bird sanctury at Century City and took a boat ride around the Island and to Canal Walk Shopping Centre and back.

It was very interesting to see the conservation effort being made at the bird sanctury to to hear how the water in the canals and ponds is multi-filtered water from the Postdam Sewerage Farm. It passes through numerous ponds with different aquatic life and plants before it enters the canal system and although it is not suitable for drinking it is clean enough to sustain life for the birds and water plants.

Two old locomotives at the entrance to Intaka Island

 

It was almost like being on a narrowboat again!

They say the penthouses in the “bridge” section vibrate and sway in high winds – not for me thank you!

A stunning pedestrian bridge connecting the Crystal Towers hotel with Canal Walk Shopping Centre

Looking back towards the city with Table Mountain in the background

Discovery Health’s building, note the colour of the building reflected in the water. Now you can see where your premiums go!

Table Mountain, Canal Walk and Knightsbrige Apartment complex framed by a cut-out in the bird hide

1344The houses along the canals are in the R3 to R5 million bracket so we won’t be moving there anytime soon.

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The main waterfront plaza at Canal Walk Shopping Centre with restaurants all around.

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Because it was the middle of the day we did not see any birds other than those in the water. There is so much construction going on at Century City that even in the bird sanctuary the noise was constant. I bet those birds are going to be very relieved when the builders finally push off.

Have a great weekend Blogpeeps.

 

 

 

 

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Lame Excuse

A French man nearly got away with stealing a number of paintings from the Louvre.
However, after planning the robbery and getting in and out and past security, he was captured only three blocks away when his van ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, “I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

 

When it’s just too late …

Today is my WordPress Blogaversary, it’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone past but I am reliably informed that this is the case.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death. That seems even more incredible. Where did the years go?

I was reminded this morning about an incident at my mother’s memorial service. We were having tea in the church hall when someone came to tell me that my son, then aged 12 had taken off up the road in tears. I went looking for him, very concerned because he had been alright throughout the service and this was not the first grandparent that he had lost, but in fact the last. When I tracked him down he was distraught and eventually I managed to find out what was wrong. Some old friend of my mothers had got him one side and told him how proud his Granny was of him and his school achievements and how she spoke about him all the time. Now this should not have caused such an upset but his words explained it all ” Why could she have not told me herself, why did I have to hear it from a stranger?”  My heart just broke for him there and then because it summed up my mother so well. Never lavish with praise or physical affection, I too had grown up never feeling quite good enough. I was both angry and sad at the same time, angry that she had inadvertently hurt my son in the same way that she had hurt me and sad that like my son I had never had the affirmation I had so badly needed even when grown up and married with children. How important it is to tell our loved ones that we love and appreciate them while we can, and often too because you never know which day will be your last!

On a slightly different note we were leaving the church after the memorial service and before my feet could even make it from the church steps to the pavement another so-called friend of my mother’s accosted me. I had never met this woman before but had heard my mother speak about her. She demanded to know right there and then what I planned to do with  my mother’s little mini oven because she would like it. I told her that I would not be dishing out my mother’s effects on the church steps and those decisions still had to be made.  Needless to say she did not get it!

A cousin of mine drove all the way from the Free State to the Cape for the memorial service but mainly to collect an item of furniture that she said my mother said she could have.  I was not aware of that promise but as I did not like that particular piece of furniture I was happy to let it go. After that she did not bother to keep in touch with me anymore and I eventually gave up when my emails were never responded to.

Another lifelong friend of my mother’s did not attend the memorial service because she said she had nothing to wear! Really … you woke up on the day and your cupboard had been stripped clean!

I guess what I am trying to say is that death brings out strange characteristics in people, the living that is, not the dead. I wonder what will go on after I have shrugged off this mortal coil.  I certainly hope my children won’t bicker and carry on about who gets what like so often happens.

On that note, have a great weekend bloggers.

Just a nip and a tuck

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I can feel my belt tightening already

Most of you will know that OH retired at the end of November and now we are finally getting to see what this will mean for our finances. We opted to draw down as little as possible from his annuity for the next five years while I am still working in order to preserve as much capital as possible.

The reality of this decision, whilst financially sound, is going to put a bit of a spoke in our wheels. The coming year will be a learning curve in that every purchase will have to be justified if we are to keep within our reduced budget.

It won’t be all frugality though; one has to find the balance between living in the present and preparing for the future which could be months, 5 years, twenty years or more. I think I’m pretty good at saving money when it comes to food shopping. I can make a little go a long way and OH is not a fussy eater. We don’t buy many luxuries in the food department and never any processed or prepared foods. Winter is much easier than summer in that regard as healthy soups, stews and casseroles can be made in bulk and frozen in portion sizes and I already do a lot of that. Summer is more difficult as we both love salads and salad ingredients have a short shelf life as does summer fruit.

Eating out will definitely have to be one of the pleasures that we enjoy less of although we don’t go crazy there either. Our theatre season tickets will definitely stay as half-price shows are a pensioner’s friend and it’s normally a great night out.  We will make more use of our Discovery movie benefit and watch out for specials and deals that we can enjoy without a guilty conscience.

I’ve had some experience in belt tightening in my lifetime and I’m hoping that the things I learnt in the past will come back to me now that I need to budget more carefully again.  I would love to hear from others at this stage of life what adjustments they have made and what advice they can offer.

Obviously if OH should be offered some contract / consultant work he would seriously consider it but I do think that having reached 65 and having survived both leukaemia and a heart attack he deserves to take it easy now.

I’d better get back to work since I’m now the main breadwinner 😉

More holiday news

A very old friend of OH and I came to stay for a few days. In fact it was he who introduced us to each other so we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. His wife (second) stayed on with her aged Dad up the Garden Route for a few more days and only joined us for one night before they had to fly back to the UK again.

It was a real pleasure to have B with us although he did not spend all his time with us as being a Capetonian by birth he had other people to see as well we did enjoy some real quality time with him. Sadly his wife is what I call an EGR (Extra Grace Required). I know she means well but she is hard work and needs to be in control and controlling what goes on around her. When they visit together B does not get a say in how they spend their time, every minute of his day is pre-organised for him before they even arrive in SA so it was nice to see him relaxed and doing his own thing for a change.

This past Saturday OH, B and I took a drive out to Big Bay at Blouberg as he had not seen it in its redeveloped form. It was the most perfect of days, not a breath of wind so no fine sand blowing around. I have never seen Blouberg looking so beautiful. We sat at a cafe at Big Bay having drinks and pizza enjoying the view of Table Mountain looking majestic across the bay.

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The remains of the Turkish bulk carrier, Seli 1 that ran aground along the Cape coast in 2009

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The lawns at Big Bay were full of people enjoying the wonderful weather and there were plenty of surfers in the water too.

We had organised at very short notice a reunion for that evening with friends from our old neighbourhood where we were all young parents together some 34 years ago. They came armed with family photos of children and grandchildren, B had all his pics on his iPad and ours were at hand too. They arrived at 6.00 pm and eventually left after 1.00 am – it’s difficult to catch up on 34 years on one go J. I found myself thinking it a good thing that B’s wife was not there as she would have really struggled not knowing any of our shared history and would probably have tried to sabotage the evening in some way. I don’t mean to make her sound like some sort of witch but I think she is very insecure in herself, worse than usual having been made redundant in the UK for the third time in 10 years. Unlike some insecure people who will just try and become invisible she will try and draw attention to herself even if it means being difficult or bit of a spoilsport.

OH and I were very glad that we only had to endure one evening with her and feel very sorry for our friend having to put up with her 24/7. I felt like I really had to make an effort to keep the conversation going over dinner that night as the easy relaxed atmosphere of the past 5 days had just evaporated and everyone was tense in case something upset her.

In other news OH’s retirement did not last for long. He has been roped in to help L our DIL with her fledgling business and is enjoying the new challenge although his “To Do” list at home remains sadly unattended to.

Summer holiday

I took an unintended sabbatical from blogging over the Festive Season. With my normal routine blown out of the water and visitors from overseas it was just too difficult to find the time to blog and upload photos.

We had a lovely stay at our holiday home, the first week or so was quiet as I finished up some work and OH did lots of DIY. Then our son, DIL and her Dad arrived to spend Christmas with us and the holiday really kicked off.

OH and J (son) spent some time re-rigging and repairing our little sailing dinghy that has not been given enough water time lately and after cautiously testing out their work they took off in a good breeze sailing together for the first time in about 15 years. J then took L (DIL) and her Dad out individually and all came back thoroughly enthused with the experience.  It was the first time L’s Dad has ever been on a sail boat of any kind and he loved it.

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The weather was very good to us this year, not too much wind and we spent a lot of time on and in the water. A fair amount of time was devoted to eating and between L and myself we made sure that no one went hungry.

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Fabulous sunsets were enjoyed almost every evening

Ozzy and Milo loved having the family around and made the most of all the cuddle time on offer.

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We had a great family time together, dogs and humans. We were relaxed, no clock watching was allowed or even needed as we enjoyed being on river time.

Back home we looked forward to the arrival of an old friend, more to follow.