Trying to live with less

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Ozzy and Milo enjoying some much needed sunshine

Of late blogging has taken second place to a number of other things so I thought I would share a little bit about what I have been busy with.

Firstly I am on a mission to de-clutter my life. I am systematically going through cupboards, rooting out stuff that we no longer use, need or like and packing it up for charity or charity shops. OH wants to know when I’m going to chuck him out – LOL

The de-cluttering is hard for him because he is by nature a hoarder whereas I am able to live without holding onto stuff for fear that I might at some future stage need it.  Of course I like to have nice stuff, but only things which I can use or, in the case of art, things that bring me pleasure to look at. I am not a collector of things that require dusting and the less that has to be moved to clean the better as far as I am concerned.

OH is the exact opposite but there is no logic or order in the things that he holds onto so he can never find something when he wants it anyway. I am trying very hard to get him to keep like with like and not just stash things wherever he can find a gap. We have been married 38 years and this is a battle I have fought for every one of those years. How it starts is he can’t decide if he needs to keep something or not, so he leaves it lying around where he (and everyone else) can see it. After a couple of weeks I ask him to please find a home for it or throw it out and so off he goes in a huff and stuffs it anywhere where he thinks I won’t come across it again in a hurry. Then of course he can’t remember where he put it and it becomes my fault 😦   I hope I’m not boring my readers with this …

I on the other hand like to keep “like things” that are worth keeping for whatever reason together so that I will know exactly where to look if I want to retrieve something.  OH’s excuse is that he does not have enough storage space allocated to him which is nonsense, it’s just that he uses it badly and refuses all my efforts to help him organise the space better.

I am also busy researching my family tree and gathering information that will assist me in finding my ancestors. So far I have just started but even 2nd generation ancestors are a bit of a mystery so there is lots of work to be done.

And then going on faith I have started researching a trip to the UK next year. We obviously want to see our daughter and granddaughter but there are other things that we would like to do as well and because this might well be the last trip that we will be able to afford to make we would like to make it meaningful and do and see the things that hold the most interest for us.  So a wish list is being drawn up and over the next year we will have time to do more research and amend the list accordingly.

Meanwhile OH has been busy with some rather unpleasant DIY. Our shower tray cracked some time back and had been held together with off cuts of plastic and clear packaging tape for far too long. With a great deal of difficulty OH has removed the tray and the bottom row of tiles and discovered that where the tray cracked there was nothing underneath except for the trap and that was also loose.

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He has done a great job at preparing the area for the next step that is throwing a new base, tiling with mosaic and replacing the bottom row of tiles but it is not easy working at floor level in a 90 by 90 cm area and the old bones are complaining somewhat. He has done an excellent job so far, no damage to the surrounding tiles at all. We were lucky enough to find matching tiles in a broken box at Builder’s Warehouse but what a performance to buy them. We had to hear how they send damaged tiles back to the manufacturer and don’t sell them. We only needed 20 tiles and the other 18 in the package were all damaged and literally lying all over the floor. I don’t believe for a minute that it would have been sent back to the manufacturer, the damage probably happened at BW and had we not bought the “good” tiles I am sure the whole lot would have ended up in a skip!

So bloggers that’s what I have been up to, there just does not seem to be enough time in a day to do everything that I want to accomplish. I have also been going for physio treatment for a neck and shoulder problem that is not settling down and the discomfort disturbs my sleep a lot so come 8.30 pm I am ready for bed.

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Hello Bloggers, I’m still here

The past two weeks have been hectic, I seem to have been constantly on the run with something or other and yet on reflection, none of it was of any great importance.

 

Last weekend OH and I worked in the garden till we ached all over but a big tree pruning job is now complete and all the cut wood stacked for fire wood. Tomorrow we are going wine tasting, the weather does not look like it will be warm but at least it will be a break from chores.

 

On a completely different note I have just finished reading JM Coetzee’s “Disgrace”. I am astounded that this work won a prize (can’t remember exactly which one). What a depressing read, the main character is a sorry excuse for a man if there ever was one and the author portrays South Africa as a country without hope or any redeeming features. This book also has the most unsatisfactory abrupt ending I have ever come across. It’s almost like Coetzee said to himself “that’s it, I’m done” and just stopped writing.

 

The weather in Cape Town is foul today, although we do need the rain. Our two water tanks both filled to overflowing in a matter of hours. Ozzy and Milo have their beds in front of the fire and for them life could not get better.

A glass of red wine and a slab of chocolate would make my life a lot better right now 😉

Dogs, cows, pigs and sheep

I am so behind with my blogging, and I am trying to catch up with your posts, comment and get also do a post of my own, so here goes.

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This is the view we are waking up to at the moment (when the sun shines that is)

We are at our holiday house, came up on Monday and enjoyed a gorgeous drive through the Overberg countryside. We drove in bright sunshine in spite of waking up to heavy rain that morning. The newly planted fields are lush green and picture perfect.

Tuesday was a stunning day although we had very heavy mist to start off with it quickly warmed up.

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I am working from here and have to keep a check on my data bundle so that I don’t end up having to pay extra.  It does not help that the connection is very slow and OH and I cannot both access it at the same time otherwise we will both become dizzy watching spinning circles trying to load sites.

OH replaced the corroded LNB on the satellite dish but we still cannot get DSTV reception. We spent about 45 minutes on the phone with DSTV Customer Service and another 30 minutes with our son to no avail.  Fortunately I can still view the recorded programmes on the PVR if I unplug the cable from the dish and there is a lot to watch, but no Sky News which is tough for OH.

Ozzy and Milo absolutely love it here, they have more space to run around and of course enjoy our company 24/7. Here they are in their new matching beds catching some sun on the verandah.

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And here they are again in each other’s beds. This is becoming a real problem. We bought them both new beds because Milo was always in Ozzy’s bed and we put it down to Milo having outgrown his puppy bed. But he still gets into Ozzy’s bed and Ozzy has now started taking over Milo’s much smaller bed.

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Unfortunately after a glorious start to the day the weather appears to be changing and we hear that we are in for two days rain. If all goes well we plan to stay here until next Sunday which gives OH lots of time for DIY and maintenance which is ongoing.

It is so peaceful here out of season, the most noise we hear is from the birds. I hope to photograph some of them but my skill as a photographer is not that good or perhaps it’s my lack of patience.

Being unable to get online yesterday to post this it is now Saturday and the cold front has made its arrival known – it is cold (11 deg) and windy. The rain did not come yesterday as predicted so I am glad that we made the most of yesterday’s sunshine and got out on the boat for a trip up the river. This time of year it is very quiet as there are very few permanent residents. The lack of wind meant the water was like glass mirroring the reflection of the houses and hills in almost perfect clarity. I don’t understand why people think that this is not a good time of year to be here, in my view it is the best. Mostly warm days and no wind make for a very pleasant climate. The chilly nights are easily taken care of with a log fire, but hey for now it’s our secret – OK!

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Reflections and perfect peace on the river

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Ozzy and Milo take everything in while on the boat

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Yesterday afternoon we went to visit friends on a farm nearby. They have just had a baby and I spent an hour or so cradling and feeding a 5 week old baby girl who is absolutely gorgeous. We had a bit of a walk around the farm and visited the milking shed and the pigs and piglets. Farming is such hard and intensive work, I have great respect for those that chose this way of life, there are definitely easier ways to make money.

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This mommy pig was very protective of her piglets and shoed them away so I could not take photos of the cute little things.

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And lastly there were the baby lambs

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That’s all from me for now, I will try and do another post but it will depend very much on how much of my data bundle remains. Doing this post took the best part of an hour as the connection is very slow.

For those bloggers in the Western Cape please keep warm and dry this wintery weekend.

Celebrating Milo’s 1st Birthday

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The Birthday Boy

Very belated update – I got my meeting with the Chairman and resolved some issues relating to my billing but some important ones still remain unresolved. I am still not going to sign anything until I am happy that I have negotiated the best possible outcome from a bad situation.

In another meeting during last week it became apparent to me that locally there is a great deal of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the head office and their performance which is well below what is expected of them.

So I will bide my time and if and when another door opens I might well decide to close this one, but I am not so stressed anymore. At the end of the day what goes around comes around …

Last week was back-to-back meetings, some of them quite heated so I did not get an opportunity to blog at all.  Also my internet connection is so damn slow at the moment that it takes all my time and patience to do what has to be done work wise and blogging does not get much of a look-in.  I don’t know if the problem is with my router that has to be rebooted on average about 4 times per day or with my computer which loses the wireless connection for no reason and has to be rebooted as well. The problem is that while waiting for something to load I start doing something else and then clean forget to go back and finish what I was trying to do originally.

We had a lovely day yesterday with our son and DIL celebrating Milo’s first birthday. Both dogs got chew treats while we enjoyed a delicious roast lamb lunch and then we sat outside in the sun and watched Ozzy and Milo have some fun with a new toy from son and DIL.

That's my treat

That’s my treat Dad!

Birthday Boy

Gotta keep my ball safe while I enjoy my treat

Interesting new toy

This strange ball is very difficult to get my teeth into but very easy on my jowls!

Milo loses his nuts

Today was the day that Milo lost his nuts. All went well and the patient is recovering at my feet in front of the heater as I type.

 

We were so impressed with Milo this morning when we dropped him off at DARG for the sterilisation procedure. There were a lot of other dogs and cats being booked in at the same time and all the big dogs were stressed, barking and whining with their tails between their legs. Maybe they knew something Milo did not … because he was as cool as a cucumber, tail up and wagging, greeting the other dogs in a friendly way but not hyped up either.

 

In an amazing coincidence one of his brothers was also getting the chop today and it was great to see the two together after nine months. Milo’s brother is taller than him but still looks a lot like him.

 

We went off to have breakfast and then spent the morning enjoying walking around in Hout Bay before collecting a very sleepy Milo just before 2 pm. Since he’s been home he has slept most of the time, had an early supper and straightened up his walking so he’s not all over the place like a “dronkie” anymore.

 

We have to keep him calm for three days and that could be quite a challenge as he and Ozzy love playing together, might have to keep them separate when we are not able to supervise. Ozzy was very excited to have Milo back home again but seems to understand that Milo needs peace and quiet and is lying quietly next to him under my desk.

 

The dedication and passion that the folk at DARG have for dogs and cats is admirable. Every dog or cat is seen as an individual, known by name and given a good chance of finding a new forever home. The t-shirt one of the staff was wearing this morning said it all “Rescued is my favourite breed”.

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.

I am sailing …

Tomorrow is OH’s last working day before he retires. Yesterday the whole company was called together and told that there were to be massive retrenchments and restructuring. This is a company that was taken over by an international company that is on a mission to buy and takeover other companies, wiping out the competition and firing people.  What a lovely Christmas these folk are going to have not knowing where they stand job wise. OH must have been the only one to leave that meeting feeling relieved that he is no longer going to have to deal with all the crap that goes on. At the moment he is probably the most envied person in the company.

 

Meanwhile I have had some disturbing news about possible restructuring by my major client which could seriously affect my business. If the proposals go ahead my situation will become untenable and will most likely hasten early retirement for me. This might not be a bad thing because we have made plans for five years hence when I was due to retire and we can bring those plans forward although financially we won’t be quite as strong but quality of life is more important to us.  We might even be able to take on a new venture and generate an income to supplement our retirement. I am not stressing about this, what will be, will be.  One door closes and another opens. As long as we have each other and our health we will be happy.

 

This could be my last blog post for a while because we leave on Monday for our cruise and the weekend is already packed with chores and stuff that we need to do. The weather in Cape Town is terrible at present and the port is windbound, hope it eases up by Monday.  A friend’s son is going to house and dog sit for Ozzy and Milo and hopefully they will behave themselves.  Milo has been on a mission lately to destroy our irrigation system and OH has had to effect repairs every evening when he gets home from work.  This is on top of me giving them filled hooves to try and keep Milo out of trouble when I have been out for an extended period.  He keeps going back to the same spots and I am trying to convince OH to smear wasabi paste on the piping there – am I being cruel or do you think it would be a good deterrent?

 

So take care bloggers, don’t shop till you drop while I am gone, will catch you on the other side of our cruise.

Vintage Cars, Wine tasting, Mountains and Milo

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We had a wonderful weekend, and knowing that we will be  housebound for the next three to four weeks as OH recovers from  his op tomorrow made it all the better.

On Friday evening we enjoyed the “7 Wonders” at the Barnyard Theatre and caught up on family news with my cousin and her husband who farm in the Porterville area but came in for the show.

On Saturday morning we had to take Milo back to DARG for his follow-up inoculation and the staff were delighted to see how he had grown and progressed. He took his injection without complaint and then we stopped at a local cafe in Hout Bay for cappuccinos and scones. This is a dog friendly place and the owner was quite happy that Milo slept on the cushioned seat next to us while we enjoyed the excellent scones.

Back home we took Ozzy and Milo out onto the field in front of our house and Ozzy did his usual manic galloping up and down the field, he really enjoys stretching his legs and it is a delight to see him move like that. We kept Milo on the lead and then put Ozzy on his lead too and walked both dogs across the field. At first Milo resisted the lead but quickly caught on and followed his big brother Ozzy.

With both dogs well exercised we settled down to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics that we had recorded the night before. We were interrupted by our son who above all things wanted to borrow my sewing machine and his Dad’s jigsaw for a project he and his wife are busy with. So for a change I had to teach him how to do something, i.e. use the sewing machine, including threading, refilling the bobbin etc. instead of him teaching me computer stuff. He caught on very quickly and after he left we resumed watching the opening ceremony. It must have been divided into two halves because we did not get the end of it which was disappointing but nevertheless the beginning was fabulous and very well done.

Sunday morning we were up early and off to Franschoek for a visit to the Motor Museum at L’Ormarins. This was a “Daddy’s Deal” that I had bought for OH as a Father’s Day present and it included wine tasting and a platter as well as a ride in an old car. The weather could not have been better, brilliant sunshine and about 25 degrees. We had to take Milo with us because he is still having three meals per day and they were very accommodating about that. The vehicles themselves are magnificent, it is an awesome collection, all in beautiful condition and OH really enjoyed looking at them.

A beautiful old Mercedes Benz

There’s that Merc again!

The mountain views were stunning against the clear blue skies

See how I’ve grown – Milo enjoying the sunshine and green grass

This lot alone are probably worth over R100 million Rand!

We then found a table in the shade on the terrace and were presented with our “Ploughman’s Platter”. It was HUGE!  Lots of different delicious cheeses, whole-wheat and white bread, cold meats, olives, gherkins, figs and a mustard mayo as well as lovely little lavender shortbread biscuits. We did our best but there was no way we could finish it. The wine tasting was extensive, I lost count of how many different wines we tasted, they just kept coming and we did find two that we really liked so we bought some to bring home.

While we were eating Milo had his lunch and then curled up in his bed which we had taken along. He was so good and made lots of new friends with people especially children who just can’t resist a puppy!

After coffee we were ready for our car ride in a 1948 Hudson. I opted to sit in the back so that OH could have the front passenger seat. OMG it was a two door vehicle and getting in the back was not easy, there was hardly any legroom. Getting out was even more difficult and I wished our driver had not pulled up right in front of the entrance to the complex because my exit was definitely not ladylike or dignified.

The Hudson and our driver

We put Milo in his bed on the back seat of the car and took a drive through the bustling town of Franschoek. There is so much to see there it is definitely worth a day trip of its own. Back in Cape Town we popped in to friends of ours to introduce Milo to them and their Jack Russell and it was not long before Milo and Lulu were romping around the garden having a great time together. This was good to see because they often join us at our holiday home and it’s great if the dogs all get on because then they all get to have a holiday too.

Tomorrow OH has to be at the hospital at 6.00 am so it will be an early start for us. He has to stay in hospital for two nights and will be on strict bed rest for at least two weeks. If I don’t find time to blog much I am sure you will realise why. My hands are going to be full with nursing him, taking care of Milo and trying to get some work done too.