Travelling in the time of Covid – Kokstad Visit – Farms and Dogs

5 December 2020 to 6 December 2020

When we woke up on Saturday morning it was still raining. Should we wait till later or leave early? Would the rain let up? Would the mist lift later on? There was no way to judge when the best time to leave would be so we bit the bullet and left at six o’clock.

The trip was a nightmare. We played dodge-the-potholes-in-the-mist for the next four hours! Not only were the mist and potholes scary, the other idiots on the road driving without lights and overtaking at inappropriate places at high speed added to the angst of both the driver and the passenger! However, we won the game thanks to the prayers that went up for our safe passage. Don’t worry about Covid, potholes and bad drivers are far more scary,

We stopped at the Lemon Tree in Underberg at eight o’clock and revived ourselves with their excellent coffee and a delicious breakfast.

The weather improved as we approached Kokstad and it was sunny and clear when we arrived. We stopped in town to do some shopping and arrived at Brooklyn Farm at eleven o’clock. But in the afternoon thunder broke the peace and lightning split the sky. Then the hail came pelting down.

The lawn was soon covered in hail

How awesome, though, to be back on the farm that we have been visiting since the 1980s. The family here are the warmest most welcoming people and it’s like coming to our second home every time we visit. We are staying with Barbara and Andrew, the matriarch and patriarch of this branch of the family. Barbara’s sister Diane is staying with her dog Shep and cat Marmaduke in a little cottage next door. Their son, Murray and his family are in the main farmhouse just through the garden gate and their youngest daughter, Ann and family are on a neighbouring farm. Their other children are closeby too.

On Sunday morning Diane called me early to join her on a walk with Shep. The sun was shining and the air was warm and it was glorious to be out walking the Brooklyn paths again.

We walked to the river which flows through the farm
Diane ready to throw a stick for Shep
Off he swims to fetch it
What a clever boy I am

Shep is the most well-mannered dog I have ever met. He brought the stick out of the water, took it to a place away from us, dropped it, shook himself dry so as not to wet us and then picked up the stick and brought it back to Diane to be thrown. He repeated this several times.

We didn’t get wet once – thanks Shep!

Later, back at the farm, Marmaduke found the catnip.

mmm This tastes good
Wow, it’s absolutely intoxicating

While we were innocently sitting on the patio having tea, Diane got up to go to her cottage when there was a movement in the grass. “Snake!” she yelled. Shep tried to go for it but she called him off. It would have been awful if he’d been bitten.

A Rinkhals Snake resembles a cobra but is not the same species.
It can spit and give a venomous bite.

The Earl tried to catch it with a pair of tongs but it managed to escape and disappear. Hopefully it will not reappear later.

Andrew’s brother Ken, farms in the Swartberg, an hour’s drive from here. We went there for lunch today. Once again there was an afternoon thunderstorm and lots of hail. However, it was lovely to bond over a delicious lunch with Ken, Caroline and Phil. At half past three it was clear enough to go for a walk. We’d brought Shep along and he, Ken’s collies, cross Australian cattle dog and Anatolian joined us.

This is going to be fun!
We laughed to see the chickens and lambs taking shelter together.
Note Henny-Penny using Lambert as a soft bed.
The view across the valley
This man, a Lesotho Border guard, had been nine hours in the saddle.
He was on his way home to visit family.
Ken on the right
Guess whose dog is in the water!

There was no keeping Shep out of the water and the other dogs soon joined in too.

Ken’s pup is training to be a sheepdog and has all the right instincts for it.
Shep just loving the water

At the end of a fabulous afternoon, we made our way back in more pouring rain. There was evidence of heavy hail fall all along the side of the road and we were relieved that we weren’t on the road when that fell.

Internet connection is not strong here and sometimes we cannot connect at all so this blog will only appear when it cooperates.

2 thoughts on “Travelling in the time of Covid – Kokstad Visit – Farms and Dogs

  1. Mary Craig

    What a wonderful time you are enjoying on the farm. Not sure about the snake though. Not my best friend. Dogs & cat sure have a wonderful life. Enjoy stay safe. Hanny had lunch with us today was lovely

    Liked by 1 person


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