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A Judge Decided by Helen Fenwick

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Act of 1996 is a unilateral treaty which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international borders. Its main objective is to enforce rights of custody over a child or children who have been wrongfully removed or kept in a foreign country in breach of those rights and to secure their prompt return to the country where the child or children habitually reside.

In the story I have written a judge must decide the future of two very young boys caught up in the complications of this law.

In our modern world divorce is a reality for many couples. But when one parent is in one country and the other in another sharing custody of the children can become the focus of a bitter battle. Who ought to have the children? Should it automatically be the mother? Why not, the good father?

”A Judge Decided” is a fictionalised story based on some true events.

It is available for purchase from Eloise of Sonopuitgewers for R250,00 plus shipping. If you wish to purchase a copy, please email her with your details and she will quote you the final price.

Contact me @ fenwickh@jebomail.co.za




Child custody – a topic often avoided, but when discussed, one that inevitably leads to heated debate; a controversial subject since King Solomon and his verdict on the rightful custodian of the disputed child.

Families are known, not only to divide, but to split because of the issue of child custody. Now Helen Fenwick examines in depth this contentious topic in her gripping new book, A judge Decided.

Written with circumspection and great sensitivity, Fenwick deftly interweaves other underlying issues of parent separation and third party involvement.

A Judge Decided is not only a remarkable legal case study based on true events, it exposes the human face of the dramatis personae in a deteriorating relationship.  In her groundbreaking work, Fenwick casts the reader into the roles of parents and children alike –  the latter caught between two counter poles. Central to the sub-plot of a husband substituting his loyal wife for another woman, is the presence of a mother pining for her children.

Written in the present tense, the book is refreshingly candid and characterised by  rare-found honesty, expressed in engaging dialogue between the characters.

Always hovering in the background, in another dimension,  is Leigh’s mother – her spirit guide who acts as mentor and counselor. Carey appears in the form of a bird – a heron, a sparrow, an owl –  to comfort both Leigh and Penny.

The author successfully portrays and explains bewilderingly legal issues, such as custody of the central character’s children in a disarmingly honest way. Her style is loose and pragmatic, and she paints her narrative in a flowing and easy way.  Enshrined in  the issue of custody, is The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Act 72 of 1996. Helen Fenwick not only untangles this complex legal web, but presents it to the critical reader in a palatable and credible way.  

At the risk of spoiling the reader’s potential enjoyment of this excellent work, I shall restrict myself to saying that the tension builds up palpably up to the point where the judge finally has to give his verdict. Will the forces of good prevail?

The print and layout is pleasing and attractive and Eloise Krige’s Sonop Uitgewers deserves a commendation for a job well done.

In conclusion:  A book dealing with the topic of A Judge Decided is long overdue and will be thoroughly appreciated by parents and individuals of all ages world-wide. Rating: *****

Romantically Sharing my World

Here are my answers to this week’s Share Your World questions from Pensitivity100

 Do you consider yourself to be romantic?

If you are romantic it means that you do and say loving things to your significant other. So yes, I believe I am romantic and so is my husband.

Do you send cards on Valentine’s Day?

No not anymore. When I was teaching my school made a big thing out of every special day and Valentine’s Day was no exception. The kids and teachers would dress up in red and we would make cards in the classroom. With our little ones they were usually for Mom or Dad! Each child would also get a little Valentine’s gift and we would teach the children about Saint Valentine and how the tradition of Valentine’s day began.

All dressed up for Valentine’s Day

At home, I would give each of my family members heart-shaped chocolates.

Would you spend a considerable amount of money on a single red rose for your beloved?

I have never done that but I have been the recipient of a single red carnation. This was sent to me by my current husband after our first date! Yes – I fell for him straight away!

What is your idea of a romantic evening?

Dinner dancing at a smart restaurant. Years ago there was a hotel in Cape Town called the Cape Sun where we used to go for dinner dancing and then we would spend the night so we did not drink and drive. We did this at least twice a year and it did us so much good.

Love is all around. Embrace it.

I am really grateful for a strong, romantic marriage that has stood the test of time. We have been happily together for 40 years and today is our thirty-sixth wedding anniversary!

30 January 1987

Share Your World 23 January 2023

Here are my answers to this week’s SYW questions from Pensitivity100

 Do you find it relatively easy to fall asleep at night?

Not really. I sleep quite well once I am asleep but it takes a while to doze off.

Do you remember your dreams?

Mostly I do but I need to write them down otherwise they disappear very quickly. I often look up the meanings. Sometimes they ring true at others not at all.

If you can’t sleep, do you watch TV, read or listen to music in the hope you will nod off?

I can’t read or watch TV otherwise I will disturb my husband. I do Sudoku on my phone. That helps.

Can you literally sleep anywhere (chair, sofa, bus, train, flight etc)?

I can’t sleep on an aeroplane. I can sleep in a car – I think the movement rocks me to sleep. But yes – if I’m really tired I can sleep anywhere. I once fell asleep during a staff meeting – I was ill – not bored!

Flowers from a child, be they weeds or roses, have equal worth.

Flowers or a handmade gift from a child is so special. I find it hard to part with the cards and gifts given to me by my small learners when I was teaching.

Handmade cards and jewelry and just the sweetest gifts

Some Cape Town Highlights

8 January 2023 to 15 January 2023

Usually when we visit Cape Town and the ‘old hood’ it’s for a specific purpose and we stay for the shortest time possible. This time staying at a caravan park for eight nights gave us the opportunity to enjoy our visit and spend time catching up with friends and family. I am not going to write about every visit but I do want to highlight some of the lovely spots we visited while enjoying their company. Hopefully, this will tempt readers from afar to visit the most beautiful city in the world. Yes, of course, I’m biassed!

The sight of Table Mountain never fails to take my breath away. It is not surprise that it is now one of the new seven natural wonders of the world
This view of table mountain was taken in January 2022 from aboard a cruise ship, MSC Orchestra
If you visit Cape Town a ride to the top of Table Mountain in the cable car is a must.
And the view from the top is certainly worth it

Noordhoek is still quite rural with many people living on small holdings. Horse riding is quite big here.

A great place to visit and meet friends is Noordhoek Farm Village which has a few novel shops and eateries. The Food Barn is very popular and on Monday morning we were there just after opening time at 8 am and it was already quite busy. The Le Petit breakfast was more like a Le Grand breakfast. The menu declared that you would get one egg, any style, bacon, mushrooms and grilled tomato. Well, it must have been a very large chicken that laid that egg – or perhaps it was an ostrich! Three slices of bacon and six rosa tomatoes plus a portion of mushrooms – all totally delicious. I could not clean my plate!

A great place to chill and relax
Horses and bicycles welcome
The Food Barn Restaurant
An amazing breakfast

One evening we met relatives for dinner at another Farm Village restaurant, Cafe Roux. Remember, it was still the school holidays and it was busy! Most of the seating is outdoors. Inside a local music group was giving a concert but you had to book and pay for that. Parking was at a premium and we were very lucky to nab a spot as another vehicle left. We also got a table in a quiet spot. It was a lovely barmy evening and at this time of year, it only gets dark after 8 pm. Service was good and the food was excellent.

A very popular venue
Good food and good company

In 1679 Simon van der Stel was appointed, by the Dutch East India Company as governor of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1685 he was granted land situated behind Table Mountain. It was an excellent area for wine growing and the scenery was magnificent. Groot Constantia is still producing wine today and the homestead is now a museum. We had the pleasure of going to lunch with my brother and sister-in-law at the restaurant called, Simon’s which has shady seating under the oak trees. Here too, the food was delicious. The Earl and Michael had calamari and Moira and I each had a Duo of Lentil and Quinoa Salad. I asked the waitress to take a photo and it looked like she did but something must have gone wrong because the image is nowhere to be found!

Looking over the Constantia Valley from Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road)
Approaching Groot Constantia
I spied a chaffinch nearby and couldn’t resist taking its portrait

I grew up in Fish Hoek and didn’t live far from there for most of my adult life. The beach was my playground and it was a huge part of my children’s and grandchildren’s lives too. It holds many wonderful memories. So of course a visit to the beach was compulsory. Near the entrance is a chalkboard and my cousin writes inspirational memes on it almost every day. Take a look at Chalkboard on the Beach on Facebook

View of Fish Hoek Beach
I almost went for a swim but the sea was too cold
The Beach I grew up on

The evening before we left the children came for a farewell braai and enjoyed the facilities at Chapman’s Peak Caravan Park

Enjoying the pool
A giant tortoise and a curious dog
Mother Hen settling her chicks for the night
Inquisitive Egyptian Geese came to see what was up
The Braai Master
Handed over to the grandsons and they did an excellent job
Even though they just had to fool around!

Cape Town is a beautiful cosmopolitan city that has become a popular destination for tourists. Compared to other destinations it is also relatively inexpensive. Some of the main drawcards are the beaches, the wine route, and the surrounding nature. Here are few photos from my archives that might tempt you to visit our beautiful city.

The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great place to take the kids
Cape Point Nature Reserve is worth a visit – the funicular will take you to the top
Where the view below is spectacular
Don’t forget to take in Boulder’s Beach where you can visit a colony of African Penguins
And Spier Wine Farm has more than wine tasting to offer – The wild bird sanctuary where injured birds are rehabilitated is a treat. Our now-grown grandsons enjoyed many visits there

The rest of South Africa also has so much to offer – hiking, kayaking, surfing, paragliding, deepsea fishing, scuba diving, nature, wildlife, adventure and fun. If you have never been to this part of the world, do yourself a favour and put it right at the top of your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.

Share Your World Monday 16 January 2023

Here are my answers to this week’s Share Your World from Di

Here are this week’s questions:

What is the most comfortable vehicle you have ever ridden in or driven?

I really enjoyed driving our Volkswagen Caravelle. It was comfortable, had plenty of space and was easy to drive in spite of its size.

Behind the wheel of the Caravelle 2005

What is the most uncomfortable vehicle you have ever ridden in or driven?

The most uncomfortable vehicle I have been driven in is called an John Deer Gator and the driver was only seven years old. I was not keen to take a ride with an unlicenced driver but he assured me that he would go over the bumps in the rough farm road very slowly – And he did! Still, I think I prefer to walk!

Meet my great-nephew, James. He rides this vehicle all over his father’s farm
Great Uncle Earl and the dogs are perfectly comfortable. I don’t have a photo of my terrified self taking a ride with James.

Have you ever ridden a horse (or a donkey at the seaside)?

When I was a child we had a pair of donkeys on our beach. They were named Spitfire and Hurricane if I remember correctly. When not working on the beach they were kept in a field not far away and we used to visit them and feed them carrots.

I have never been a keen horse rider but I have ridden a horse several times. Our two older daughters loved horse riding when they were children and one now owns her own horse and until recently participated in endurance riding.

My great niece riding my daughter’s horse

If you could have one of these as a pet, which would it be and why?
Black panther, cheetah, leopard, lynx

I know this is an IF question and just for fun, but I just can’t imagine keeping a wild creature as a pet. I am privileged to be able to see many wild African animals in their natural habitat and they are all magnificent.

There is no way you could keep this wild creature as a pet!

Never forget to tell the Special Someone in your life that you love them.

Love this meme below. I recently had my best friend spend a few days with me and we really get each other and can definitely be stupid together. Love you, Jen!

A Blogging Survey

I have joined From Cave Walls Survey. Here are my answers

1. How many times per week do you post? Do you post multiple times a day? If so, how many?

I try to blog once per week but often don’t. I usually blog daily (or nightly) when I travel and have something I want to share with others. Most of my posts are about caravanning and our trips to the game reserves in South Africa but also generally about the South African Lifestyle and travel to other countries.

2. How many blogs do you follow?

I follow 68 but not all of these bloggers are regular. I have a list of ten favourites that I check regularly.

3. Do you read all the blogs you follow every day? If not, how often do you read other blogs?

I go through phases. When I’m travelling it’s all I can do to fit in writing my blogs so I don’t read as many then. But when I’m at home I try to read everything that comes up in my Reader or email.

4. Do you seek out new blogs to follow?  If so, how do you find them?

I used to but now I have enough to interest me. Googling a topic eg- caravanning + Blog +Wordpress has helped me find new blogs to follow. I have also found other blogs by joining challengers and reading the responses of other bloggers. If I like their responses, I start following them. Also reading a comment on a blog I follow might tempt me to check out that person’s own blog.

5. Do you comment on the blogs you read? If not, why? Do you respond to all the comments left on your blog?

Only if I have something I really want to say. I always enjoy reading what others have written but sometimes just a like is enough.

I usually respond to comments on my blog.

6. Do you ever close comments on a blog you post? If so, why?

I have never felt the need to close comments.

7. Do you ever unfollow someone? If so, why?

Not really – I have unfollowed people who haven’t blogged for a very long time and have obviously given up blogging — or died.

8. What content inspires you to follow a blogger?

I love reading about the lives of other retirees and I very much enjoy reading blogs from people in other countries.

9. What content turns you off from following someone?

If the blog is too political I’m not that interested in following it. Also where there is a lot of negativity. Humourous blogs are a hit for me and also informative blogs. I follow people who are into nature, wildlife and birds. I also enjoy travel blogs.

10. How important is it to you that you add a photo to every post?

11. Leave me a link for one blogger (other than yourself) that you think I should check out.

Because I write about the lifestyle in my own country, the game reserves and other travel, I always include photographs. I also like using clipart and memes.

Back in the Old Hood

7 and 8 January 2023

We were sad to be leaving lovely Bontebok National Park but we certainly will be back.

It was good to see that the owner of the park was making sure Administration did its job!

We had mixed feelings about heading to Cape Town. We’d geared our minds to going home to Struisbaai and after our lovely holiday, the big city with all its busyness did not hold much appeal. But on the other hand, we looked forward to catching up with friends and family.

It was one of those glorious clear sunny days and the scenery was stunning
A twinge of sadness that we were not taking the turnoff to home!
Passing a full Steenbras Dam lifted our spirits
Who can’t be delighted to be going back to the hood when this greets you as you come over Sir Lowry’s
We had to wait for a train, a working train at the level crossing in Lakeside!
Oh, the familiarity of this!
I never tire of this amazing view across the valley towards the back of Table Mountain.

There is no denying that Cape Town is a beautiful place and seeing the old familiar sights filled us with joy. We would be staying in Noordhoek just around the corner from Sun Valley where we’d lived for most of our lives and a few of our friends are close neighbours of Chapman’s Peak Caravan Park.

We’d never been to the park before but were quite delighted with what we found. Entering the gate we thought reception couldn’t be far away,

It was quite an adventure just finding our way to the office
Would we find a gingerbread house?
No – just a wooden hut with farm ducks and chickens scurrying nearby

We were not required to pay immediately but were given a remote to get in and out of the gate when it was closed and told to choose any site.

The children’s play area looked a bit too adventurous
A warning that would put any parent off!
Nobody was using the pool. When there are gorgeous beaches nearby it certainly takes second place
We found a lovely spot that has shade all day long.

We had heard that the park was run-down and had even closed so we were pleasantly surprised to find it quite a lovely place to stay. It is old and does not have the manicured appearance of some caravan parks. But it has a wonderful farm feel about it. The sites are large and there is plenty of shade. Many of the sites are more grassy than ours. The ablutions are not modern but everything works and they are clean and neat.

Who can complain when you receive visitors like this?

After we’d settled in and had a nap we went to visit friends just five minutes away.

My Bestie with her daughter and grandchildren

Today the family gathered at Castle Rock where The Earl’s sister and family live. Their indigenous garden which is just an extension of the mountain attracts many birds and other wildlife. The view of the ocean is amazing and the kids enjoyed a glorious swim in the crystal clear water. This is the bay in which “My Octopus Teacher” was filmed. It is a wonderful documentary that is well worth watching. Look for it on Netflix.

My grandsons in the clear water
Orange-breasted sunbird

We watched several helicopters flying low over the bay. Some landed at the ski-boat club where their passengers could get refreshments or walk around and admire the area.

A helicopter taking tourists for a scenic flight over the peninsular
This one is landing at The Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club

This part of the peninsular is spectacularly beautiful and the beaches being a little rocky and not as easy to get to are quieter than the more popular sandy beaches.

Our braai fire

It was a really beautiful day and a wonderful visit with our family and the braai was awesome. Thanks, Carol and Vere for hosting us.

Fun at Bontebok National Park

Friday 6 January 2023

The dawn chorus woke me early this morning and on peeking out of my window I saw that the rain had gone. By eight o’clock we were on our way to Swellendam to do some shopping. There is no restaurant in the park and we had not yet provisioned for the next part of our extended holiday.

As we were driving toward the exit gate I checked my phone for messages and found I had a missed call from our friend, Carl. I rang him back. He asked if we were in the park and when I said we were about to leave to have breakfast in Swellendam he was delighted. He was almost there himself having taken a motorbike ride from Napier and was planning to have breakfast at Grace and Merci. So of course we met him there and had a lovely catch-up before he rode back home and we got on with our town chores.

A lovely place to stop for a meal in Swellendam – Grace and Merci
Our timing was perfect – got to have a meal with Carl
Discussing the pros of riding a bike!

Swellendam has a good Checkers and we managed to get everything we needed, then returned to the park. I was delighted to find that the camp had a laundry with a washer and dryer in good working order. I obtained two tokens at R15 each and put on a load of washing. While this was doing I got stuck into tidying the caravan which was in serious need of a spruce-up. I donned the rubber gloves and gave it a thorough scrub. By the time I was done, the washing was ready to go into the dryer.

Luckily a caravan is quick and easy to clean.

Once everything was neat and tidy and the laundry folded and packed away, it was time to explore our surroundings.

The park is situated 6km from Swellendam at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and it is bordered by the Breede River in the South. This small park was established specially to protect the endangered bontebok which need the type of renosterveld on which this species thrives. They were hunted almost to extinction in the 1800s and when only 22 remained, a park to protect them was established near Bredasdorp but then moved to Swellendam where the vegetation was more suitable. The park now has between 200 and 300 individuals and De Hoop nature reserve also has a number of these beautiful antelope.

Because there are no predators in the park it is safe to walk and cycle in the park and a number of cycling and walking trails have been created. They are well-signposted and easy to follow. The Earl and I started on the Aloe Hill trail but then turned off to have a look at the river where boating, fishing and swimming is allowed.

The rain was gone and the bridge was not slippery
The Earl making his way safely across
There is a campsite without electricity right beside the river
Tubing, swimming and riding the rapids is being enjoyed by some fun-loving kids
Fishing is allowed – someone is all set up for the afternoon but he is nowhere in sight!
There were lots of weavers in the reeds
And a Cape Bulbul asked to be noticed too

It was quite hot and after walking for half an hour the Earl decided not to continue. So I walked back to the caravan with him and a little later went off on my own. The birdlife in the park is prolific and I hoped to get a few photos. I certainly saw more than I could capture digitally though!

I have no sense of direction whatsoever so hoped the signs would guide me both there and back!
As I adventured on I imagined that I was an explorer not knowing what was around the next bend
Certainly lots of aloes
And beautiful succulants
It was quiet and only the birdsong could be heard
I thought that if I followed this sign the aloe hill trail would get me back to camp
Lovely flora of all different colours to admire
Hey – You’re in my park – The bontebok owns this place
He introduced me to his friend
Another bridge to cross
This Karoo Prinia literally yelled for his portrait to be taken

I continued to follow the signs but I must have missed the Aloe Hill sign and found myself on the bushbuck trail which petered out and so I turned around and retraced my steps until I found the sign that pointed me back to camp. This all took over an hour but I had the most awesome time being an almost lost in the bush explorer!

Fortunately, I arrived back just as the Earl was waking from his nap. “I thought you were lost!” he said. He has no faith in my ability to find myself without him!

It was soon time for a sundowner and to make a salad while the Earl did the braai. What a beautiful day it was after all the rain yesterday. We chatted to our neighbours – campers are always friendly and then had our dinner before settling down for the night.

Our campsite – The Earl doing the braai
Hungry after my long walk!
A beautiful sunset

Camp Facilities

The camp facilities are lovely. The kitchen has electric hot plates, food preparation sinks and a microwave. There is a laundry with big basins for hand washing and a washing machine and dryer that work. Tokens must be obtained at R15 each from reception. There is also a scullery where you can wash dishes. Everything is neat, tidy and functional.

The kitchen
A picnic table and braai under cover for campers’ use
Scullery has double sinks with plenty of space to put a drying rack
Laundry sinks
Washer and Dryer

The ablution block is modern but the shower cubicles are quite small with just one hook behind the door and a small fold-up bench.

Basins with mixer taps
Make up counter with plugs for hairdryers and shavers
Bathroom for mobility challenged

This is certainly a park that is worth a visit. There is lots to see and do.

Bontebok National Park

5 January 2023

It’s not so bad finding yourself “homeless” when there are so many awesome places to stay cheaply, assuming, of course, that you have a tent or caravan!

As I mentioned in my previous post we have taken on the gypsy lifestyle while our house is let out for the holidays.

Today we left Warmwaterberg where we spent two lovely days and as we travelled toward Swellendam we enjoyed the scenery before the rain bucketed down.

We stopped to have breakfast at the infamous Diesel and Creme in Barrydale.

Always an interesting place to stop
The weather made us sit indoors this time
As you can see only a few chose to be chilly outdoors
The Benedict Wraps were delicious

We really should have ordered one wrap to share because neither of us could eat both halves!

Thus fortified with food we continued on our scenic drive to Bontebok National Park.

We love this little town of Suurbraak between Swellendam and Barrydale
This made us giggle

The homes are simple but everyone makes them look really pretty.

I love the yellow door
And this blue one
What a welcoming mini market
Goodbye Suurbraak – we will visit one day soon as at Warmwaterberg we met some folk who have a home here
And then the rain came down in torrents
Waterfalls in the mountains

It was still raining when we entered Bontebok National Park. I asked the reception staff to please turn it off but they just laughed at me. Anyway, my spirits were up when we saw our first Bontebok of the trip.

Well a wet good morning to you too!

We settled into our not-too-muddy campsite and huddled in the Gecko till the rain let up a little and then went for a drive.

The red hartebeest was too grumpy even to lift his head.
And this spotted thick knee looked amazing in spite of being wet
The wildflowers were also quite cheerful – I think this is some type of Erica.

The park is very pretty but in the wet weather, there was not too much to see.

At supper time we did not need to cook outdoors as we had leftover Benedict wraps and leftover ribs from Warmwaterberg both of which were still quite delicious.

More to follow tomorrow. I promise the weather improves!

New Year and Warmwaterberg

1 January 2023

We woke to a beautiful morning at The Homestead Caravan Park had a champagne breakfast at the camp’s restaurant. It was awesome. Our table was decorated, the champagne waiting on ice and a fresh fruit salad ready in a pretty glass. This was followed by a lovely English breakfast and of course some excellent coffee.
The rest of the day we spent swimming in the pool, walking in the shady gardens, reading, and napping. It was a wonderful way to start the New Year.

2 January 2023

We left The Homestead at 8:30 and made our way to Plettenberg Bay, stopping for breakfast at Bay West Mall just off the N2 then made our way to Plett. The traffic was flowing until we reached Keurbooms. From there we crawled for half an hour! This is Plett in season – we should not have been surprised! But it was lovely to be back at our daughter’s now much quieter home as all the guests had left. Our granddaughter and her boyfriend had also gone off to his parents for the rest of the holidays. For supper, we ordered Sushi in and it was delicious.

3 January 2023

We managed to get a caravan site at Warmwaterberg for two nights so left before 8 this morning in lovely sunny weather. We like sites 17 a b and c in front of reception and next to the pool but they were fully booked. Instead, we got a very private and shady spot, Number 16, behind reception. It was too hot to set up so went straight to the pools. Usually, we enjoy the hot springs but today we wallowed in the cold pool. Because it is still school holidays it was busy and there were lots of families with kids. However, it was still quite pleasant. We chatted to some of the parents and the kids and everybody was having a lovely time.

We decided that as these two days were the last of our holiday we would eat our meals at the restaurant. This evening I had bobotie and the Earl had Oxtail. The reasonably priced portions are really generous and come with plenty of vegetables. We really should have ordered one meal and shared!

4 January 2024

Isn’t it amazing how weather can change so dramatically? After a very hot day yesterday, the wind got up in the night and this morning was quite chilly. But this made being in the hot pools an enjoyable experience. We spent the day in and out of the pools and just relaxing.

In the evening we went to the restaurant again. I had the lasagne and Earl the ribs. Once again we were not disappointed.

I did not take any other photos of our two days here because I have blogged a few times about this spot. If you want more info I have written about the campsite here and what to do in the surrounding places here.

This was to be the last day of our holiday but a phone call while having breakfast was to change that. We were expecting the tenants in our house to move out today and tomorrow we would go home. But our agent called to ask if she could let to new tenants until 15 January! Yes, it was very last minute and we were not prepared but the opportunity to earn some more money made us bite the bullet and say, Yes, Okay – we will make a plan!

“We’re homeless!” I said to the Earl when I ended the call. But of course, we have our Gecko and so it would be home for another 10 days! We just had to decide where to go next.

Very quickly a plan took shape. We needed to go somewhere nearby. So after some discussion, we decided to go to Bontebok National Park for two nights and then to Cape Town but we couldn’t stay with the kids because there would be no place to park the caravan. But parking off at Chapman’s Peak Caravan Park for a week would be ideal. We have lots of friends and family in the area and really need to catch up with them. After enquiring we were told there would be plenty of space as most of the holidaymakers have now left.

So watch this space for news of the Homeless Gecko Caravanners!

Share Your World Monday 2 January 2022

This is the first SYW of 2023 hosted by Pensitivity100

Did you stay up to see the New Year in?

We were camping and some of the other campers stayed up. A young girl gave us sparklers to light at midnight but I am afraid we didn’t make it. We were asleep by 10!

Are there any special occasions or events coming up in 2023 for you or your family?

2022 was an awesome year. We had regular visits with our Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay kids and grandkids. Thankfully the younger generation is still happy to spend time with us. The highlight of the year was celebrating my 70th birthday with all ten of us gathering for a weekend at Fransvliet in Franschoek.

The boys looking forward to digging into that delicious cake!

We also went on a cruise to Marion Island and did a few caravanning trips. We certainly plan to have as much fun in 2023.

Leaving Table Bay on our Marion Island Cruise in January
Gecko Caravanning Weekend in May

One trip already planned with our friends Cathy and Alec is a caravanning trip to Kgalagadi in August 2023.

My granddaughter is turning 21 next month and ‘something’ is planned. We don’t know what yet.

 Do you keep a diary?

Yes, I do. At first, my diaries were erratic and dealt with the progress of my children and holidays. I have kept all of them. In 1999 I started to journal more regularly as some serious things were happening in our lives. I used these diaries to help write my book, A Judge Decided. Since starting those diaries I have continued although I don’t do entries every single day.

 How did yesterday differ from January 1st 2022 or was there no difference?

Let me check my diary.

Well, it seems that I didn’t write anything about 1 January 2022. But there is an entry for 31 December 2021. We all had different plans for the evening. The Earl and I were not going to stay up till midnight and that plan worked out for him. But our youngest, her friend and the friend’s young man who was also staying over with our Plett family, went out to a party, but the young man being of a rather shy disposition came back early and he and I sat up till midnight chatting! It was a most unusual New Year’s eve but very enjoyable. (He was good company one on one – just didn’t like parties!) I have no idea what time the girls got home but it was well after midday when we all met again for our next meal!

This year on New Year’s Day we had a champagne breakfast at our camp, The Homestead’s, restaurant. It was awesome. Our table was decorated, the champagne waiting on ice and a fresh fruit salad ready in a pretty glass. This was followed by a lovely English breakfast and of course some excellent coffee.
The rest of the day we spent swimming in the pool, walking in the shady gardens, reading, and napping. It was a wonderful way to start the New Year.

A smile is infectious. Spread it around.

I am grateful that The Earl and I are still in good enough health to do the things we do. Each year just seems to get better and better.