Author Archives: puppy1952

About puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wild life enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

Hooray for SAA!

After such a hectic 2018 I thought it would be a good idea to stay put for the next six months but my husband had other ideas. He decided that a cruise would be fun so without telling me he did some research and came up with a Costa cruise from Mauritius to Venice.

At the beginning of February, while shopping in Bredasdorp, he parked outside Harvey Travel.

“What are we doing here?” I asked.

“Oh just checking out one or two things,” he said.

Well an hour later with the help of Riaan and Therina and in spite of my doubts that we’d never get Visas sorted out in time, a  trip was put together.  After a few tweaks, everything was booked and we could go ahead and apply for our Schengen Visas.  As luck would have it, we managed to get an appointment at Capago in Cape Town on 12 February, the same day that we had to attend my friend, Heather’s, 80th birthday lunch. Within 8 days they were done and couriered to us via Postnet!
Our itinerary includes three days in Mauritius before boarding the Costa Victoria. The cruise takes us to the Seychelles, Oman, Eilat Israel, Jordan, Cypress, Crete, Santorini, Olympia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Split and ends in Venice. The cruise is 28 days. We will spend three days in Venice and three days in Rome. Then we will take another 7 day Mediterranean cruise starting at Civitavecchia and calling at Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Ajaccio, Genoa, La Spezia and ending back at Civitavecchia. We fly home on 25 April.

So today the adventure began. We left Struisbaai in pouring rain on Monday morning and spent the next two days before departure staying with our kids in Plumstead and catching up with friends and family.  My brother organised a transfer to the airport which saved Lisa having to get up at a ridiculously rude hour to drop us before having to fight the traffic back to work.   From the time of the pick up at 4:15 am with an awesome driver to the drop off at our hotel in Mauritius this afternoon at 17:30 Mauritian time – two hours ahead of SA, we had the best service from all concerned.

We had checked in online and when we got to the bag drop there was a short queue – but that did not stop SAA from taking us to the Prestige Desk and getting us sorted in the briefest of times.  I reminded the checker that our travel agent had requested wheel chair assistance for The Earl.   But it was not on the system.  No Problem – she sorted it within minutes and a wheelchair with a charming carer arrived.  Using the assisted travel option has changed the way we travel forever – it takes the stress out of having to walk miles at a fast pace, finding the correct gate and getting through bag check and customs without a meltdown.   My advice to all over seventies no matter how fit you think you are, is to travel with assistance – it’s awesome.   The flight attendants were amazing too.  They helped carry and stow our carry on bags and made absolutely sure that we had whatever we needed. Nothing was too much trouble.  We had two flights – Cape Town to Johannesburg and then Johannesburg to Mauritius.   There was very little time between flights and I don’t think we could have done it without help!  We received the same awesome treatment when landing in Mauritius too.   Everybody was welcoming and friendly and our transfer driver was very chatty and informative about where to go and what to see while we are here.  What a paradise this island is!   The trip from the airport to our hotel was 70 km and took over an hour but we enjoyed the tropical scenery.   It rained a little but all was clear when arrived at the hotel and it’s balmy to say the least!

Azure Beach Boutique Hotel in Grande Baie is really lovely.  It is not 5 star but clean and comfortable and there is a lovely view over a yacht basin.

This evening we had a delicious seafood salad for dinner.

We then took a walk around the area before returning to catch up on our sleep!





What does happy really mean

Sparks asked a question in Share Your World – Are you Happy – if so why if not why not.   The answers from those who played along were interesting and led her to ask another question

“What is the limbo gray area between ‘happy’ and ‘contented’?

I’ve been thinking a great deal about what happiness really is and whether it is possible  to be happy all the time.    The dictionary definition of happy is ‘feeling or showing pleasure or contentment and there are many synonyms for happy –  content, cheerful, joyful, carefree, untroubled and the list goes on!

The limbo, grey area is how you feel when you’re not exuberantly happy, ecstatic or so joyful you can’t contain yourself. Life is tough! You’re not going to feel on top of the world all the time!


And don’t neglect the other emotions – sadness, anger, jealousy, empathy, repulsion –  all have their place.  You would not be a complete human being if you did not feel different emotions.   The thing is we all have different personalities.  A life coach once told me that there are three core emotions that define us – Joy, Sadness and Anger.   How you handle your emotions are affected by which of those is your dominant emotion.  If Joy is not your core emotion it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy and if it is, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be sad.   My core emotion is anger – and it helps me deal with stuff!   My anger helps me express how I feel and get it out – of course in a constructive way.  Sad core people find it hard to express anger and tend to go into a dark place.  They need to learn to let things go and not allow all the sadness in the world to make them unhappy.   They are probably the most caring people among us – they’re the ones who empathize and offer support to others even when they themselves are in the doldrums.  Sad people can feel happy but it’s harder for them.     We are all different and we just need to learn how to recognise and work with all our emotions.

I believe that nobody can make you happy but they certainly can make you unhappy.  If a child dies or you lose everything in an earthquake or fire – of course you’re going to be unhappy.  When my cousin was tragically  killed in an accident they wanted to sedate my aunt.  She refused, “I don’t want to numb my feelings – I want to feel sad for losing my boy!”  And she was right! Maybe some of us can’t get through trauma without sedation and that’s fine but they should be given the choice.   It’s not going to take away that feeling of loss – ever!  You don’t get over a trauma like that – you always feel it but you do learn to live with it. I am still sad about losing my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.  And even years later I shed a few tears for them – that’s what we as humans do – we’re sad, we’re angry, we’re resentful – but we deal with it and move on with our lives – nursing those hurts but not letting them bring us down completely.  It is not compulsory to be happy all or even most of the time – some people have circumstances that make it impossible for them to be cheery, but they carry on and do the best that they can.

When I was a child I believed that it was because of people that I was unhappy – the other kids were mean to me, the teacher didn’t like me, if I lived in a nicer neighborhood things would be better.  My mother told me that if I kept crying and being miserable nobody would like me and one day it sank it and I worked on my joy.   It took a while and meeting my best friend forever certainly helped – but it was up to me to find joy in my life.

best friend

So back to the question – I don’t believe there is one grey, limbo state to be in.  It changes all the time.  Life is a challenge.  We need each other to get through the bad times and to share the good.   It helps tremendously to have family and friends but there are plenty of happy single people making it on their own.  If mental illness is part of one’s problem it’s essential to surround oneself with people.  I so admire those who recognise that they need help and go and get it.  They drag themselves up and show up at places they don’t want to be because deep down they know it’s what they need.

I also believe that if one’s core emotion is sadness – make friends with somebody whose chirpy.   Surround yourself with cheerful people – you need them to help you find joy and they need you to empathize with them when they’re down.


Those who are chirpy – don’t judge – be there for the anxious.  I promise they are not being anxious to annoy – they need uplifting.  Try to put things in perspective for them – but in the gentlest way and there’s nothing like laughter to lighten a situation.

I read this about Eeyore and it makes so much sense.  Here is a quote from the link

“Eeyore was often sad, he didn’t look on the bright side often, usually moved pretty slowly, and his dialogue in the book is almost always written, “said Eeyore, gloomily.” For many people, being diagnosed with depression sounds almost as bad as a death sentence. Because honestly, a lot of people in today’s society still view people with depression as broken or sick and that they need medication or to talk to someone. And maybe Eeyore did need all of those things. He could have very well benefited from medication or a counselor. But there was one thing that Eeyore had that many real people who suffer from depression don’t: The Hundred Acre Wood Gang.”

The gang.png

In conclusion, when I say I am happy, I mean that in general I am. I’m an optimist and have a positive attitude.  Maybe I put my head in the sand because I don’t allow the chaos of the world to affect me.  I leave that to my hubby and he fills me in with how awful things are sometimes. This keeps me being a bit more realistic about the state of the world but once I’m over being depressed about it, I look on the bright side and point out the positives to my darling.  This stops him from falling into deep depths of despair because believe me in this country there is a lot to be worried about!   I’m not only talking about politics making us unhappy though – there is always stuff to deal with.  But one of us tends to let it get him down while the other looks on the bright side.  This is how we balance each other out and remain sane!


Share Your World 4 March 2019

I have slipped out of routine and neglected my blog for a while so have decided to do Share Your World this week.  Soon we will be off on another adventure and internet connections will be erratic so my blogging may once again be put on hold for a month or two.  This post is to reassure everybody that I am still here!

I love this week’s questions and I’m answering them before reading anybody else’s.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

I’m not too sure – it’s not hands, eyes, body shape or anything like that.  I think the first thing I notice is more subtle – friendliness, enthusiasm, personality – or some sort of connection I feel toward the particular person.

What three habits do you feel would improve someone’s life?

Weeeellllll that is a difficult one –  What’s good for the gander might not be good for the goose but this is what I think might help!

  • Start the day fresh, with a positive attitude that things will go well
  • Drink a cup of hot, strong, coffee – preferably freshly ground espresso, Americana, filter cappuccino -whatever floats your boat.
  • Do some yoga exercises.

The first I’ve tried all my life – even if the previous day was awful – I would try to start with a positive attitude the following day – Sure things would go wrong but I would deal with them and then start fresh again the next day.

The second might be met with horror from those who think coffee is not healthy!  It is!  It’s an essential food for any working person or when there’s stress in your life.  But the coffee must be good!  Currently I am drinking an excellent blend, brewed in an Italian Coffee Pot.  I take it hot, strong and black!

The Third – Is something new in my life.   I have always had some sort of exercise routine but after retirement I neglected all kinds of routine.  But recently I started Yoga. It’s just me and my new teacher/friend.  We do it every week day morning at 6:30 and it’s both challenging and calming.  I am loving it and becoming so much more ‘mindful’!


What takes up too much of your time?   Would you stop that if you could?

In my current life, time is my friend.  I can do what I want when I want.   I spent enough years being selfless and splitting my time among all those who needed my attention – not that I regret one moment – I always made time for myself!   BUT now the only other person I have to consider is my darling husband – and that’s just not a problem!

I spend an indecent amount of time on the computer – NOT GAMING!   I Blog and learn languages.  I started Italian on Duolingo in May 2016  – Conosco un sacco di parole, ma non posso avere una conversazione.  (I know lots of words but cant have a conversation)  I’ve probably worded that incorrectly in Italian – but there you are – I can construct a sentence!

My ancestry is both Italian and Greek – and I have just started learning my father’s language – Greek!  I learned about 20 words when I was a child but never the alphabet.  I’ve mastered that now – and wow – it’s awesome to learn another language in a strange script!   I doubt I’ll ever be fluent in either of my new languages but it’s fun trying.  It’s an awesome way to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.      Γεια σου ειμαι Ελενη  και αγαπω τη ζωη   Hello My name is Helen and I love life.

So that’s what takes most of my time – The Earl thinks I’m crazy – but he’ll thank me when I can at least read the street signs in Greek on our travels!  Did I mention we’re boarding an Italian ship for a 28 day cruise in a week’s time?  It leave from Mauritius and ends in Venice – stopping in at Seychelles, Oman, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Crete, The Greek Islands, Croatia and Italy!  Who knows when I might need my smattering of foreign vocab.

Those of you who South Africa Afrikaners reading this – don’t worry – I haven’t neglected my Second Language – Ek kan nog Die Taal praat.    It’s just the indigenous languages that I have not yet attempted!  They’re unfortunately, not on Duolingo! But I do have a daughter and grandkids who can make themselves understood in Xhosa.  To quote Nelson Mandela – If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Would I stop if I could?  Sure – but why should I?

Cookies (biscuits to those elsewhere), pastries, pie or cake?   If not, what does your sweet tooth crave?

  1. chocolate

It is most definitely another essential food group no matter what diet you’re on!   I can say chocolate I want chocolate in three  languages other than English! Ek wil sjokolade hê,  Voglio cioccolato, θελω σοκολατα

cheesey sun1

Gratitude?  Are You Happy?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Yes I am happy.   BUT Happiness is a state of mind.   I don’t believe other people can make you happy.  I do believe other people can make you unhappy at times but it’s up to you choose happiness as a state of mind.  Now for some people this is not easy and perhaps not even possible.  If your circumstances are dire or you suffer from anxiety, depression, paranoia or any kind of mental illness it’s a constant struggle to just hang in there.  There are people out there who have no reason to be miserable but something in their make-up prevents them from emerging from the doldrums.   Those of us fortunate enough to choose to be happy can’t judge them.  But we can help.  We can accept them the way they are and help them to deal with whatever it is that makes them struggle with their demons.

The rest of us need to sort our our attitudes.  I have met people who are going through the toughest of times, yet remain happy within themselves.  I know it’s a cliche but tough times make you stronger – it’s how you handle it that counts.   Also I do believe you can be sad, concerned, worried, angry while deep down, you have peace and contentment.

I was not always a chirpy little soul – specially not in my childhood. It’s taken work to deal with stuff that I thought was making my life such a drag.  Now I’m very happy.   “Even the bad times are good!” I’m grateful for the good times and the tough times.  And I’ve chosen to BE HAPPY.   Of course sometimes things happen to “spoil” things and I get mad and want to slap or kill someone but after a while I just ‘deal with it’  and “move on.”  Now I know and understand that NOT EVERYBODY is able to do that.  I’m not judging nor saying PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.  If we know somebody’s story we start to understand and love them in spite of everything.

I HAVE been through tough times.  I have had to deal with stuff but seriously, it’s all been worth it and I am now determined to MOVE ON and ENJOY my old age and have as much fun as I can.  I feel  irritated when people who have pretty good lives and are probably twice as privileged as I am simply don’t appreciate it and will find something to complain about.  These are the ones who will say, “You’re so lucky.  You have this perfect, wonderful life.”  I don’t disagree with them because nothing I say will change their attitude – that’s up to them – and maybe I don’t know their story.   I simply reply, “YES!  I KNOW – Aren’t I lucky! – Perfect husband, wonderful kids, fabulous grandchildren, stunning health!  What more could I ask for –  what’s not to make me happy!”  It really annoys them – hee! hee!

A few years ago at work, I bounced into the teachers’ lounge and cheerily greeted a colleague.  She replied, “Stop being so chirpy – It’s irritating!”   So if this post has been too chirpy – I apologise most sincerely!


Two Oceans Marlin Tournament 2019 Day 2 to Day 6

On Tuesday and Wednesday one or two marlin were sighted but none landed.  However, the weather was good and the anglers had fun trying for other species to enter into the Culcutta.     On Thursday and Friday weather prevented them from going to sea but they were out there again on the last day, Saturday.   No more Marlin were caught making Team Capetonian the winners!

Here are some of the results of the Culcutta and Lucky Draws

Bi Catch Prizes:

1st: Werner Kotze – Team Riptide YT 6.75kg
2nd: Chris – Team Dory YT 5.04kg
3rd: Steward – Team John Graeme YT 4.55kg
4th: Johan vd Walt – Team Dory = YT 3.05kg
5th: Pkkoe – Team Capetonian – Skipjack 2.09kg

Big Catch Lucky draws.

Tuesdays Lucky Draw – Team Indigo
Wednesdays Lucky Draw – Team Sunseeker

Werner Kotze – Team Riptide for Marketing Toyoya Robertson


Ben Viljoen – Team Zulick – Water in fuel
ET – Team Riptide – Taking Toyota Banner without permission of premises.
Allen Hills – Team Moondancer – Bend fuel pipes
Andrew Perrins – Marlin Control – overslept and forget to call lines
in on time.
Hubert Meyer – Team Capetonian – Radio out of order
John – Team John Graeme – lost his shorts – walking on boat naked.
Mike Broderick – Team Bad Co – Forgot his fishing gear at home – norods or tackle – had to turn around.


Andrew pays the price!


Andrew’s Dog, Shonga – looking concerned about the goings on of the strange humans

On Friday night there was a wine auction – Andrew being the very able auctioneer.   Thanks to those guys who made generous bids as the proceeds go toward paying for some state of the art equipment


Searl, pleased after winning the bid




I can better that!


Another generous bid


Pleased with the results


And it was Mike’s birthday – so a sparkler was in order!

No competitor went home empty handed after the Prize Giving on Saturday night.   Thanks again to the many sponsors for their generous donations.

Of course the trophy this year went to Team Capetonion.


Werner Kotze – by catch prize – Riptide


Roelof Visagie – Team Multi – Main Big Catch Prize


Chris Gillitt – Garmin Sponsor with Hubert Meyer


The Earl and I each received a bottle of my favourite Springfield wine for our part in taking photographs


Christo and Davy for their part in safety at sea


Searl Durrman sponsor from Aquila receives a ‘Sniffer”


Jacques van Niekerk – Sponsor receives a “sniffer”


Francois van der Merwe from Raymarine


Chris Gillett from Garmin receives a sniffer


Prizes for all the teams


Our trusty security guard receives a couple of bottles of red


Lucky draw winner of a Viljoensdrift Boat Cruise – Mike Broderick


Winner of an Arniston Hotel stay in lucky draw – Gawie Bruwer


Team Capetonian win The Trophy or 2019


Thanks to the catering and bar staff


Flowers for our fantastic Manageress, Mirinda


And our awesome secretary, Elsa


Jaco Jacobs from Team LeBoss received a sniffer in thanks for his sponsorship


Chris Goatley of Team John Graeme – receives a prize for Culcutta


Stephen Griffiths from Met Eish wins two nights at Malagas Hotel in the draw

Two Oceans Marlin Tournament 2019 Opening Function and Day 1

Meirion Williams of Huck Finn fame, sowed the seed to have an annual Marlin catch, measure and release competition.  This was after he chatted to local commercial fisherman, Trail Witton who landed a striped marlin thirteen years ago.  Meirion thought it would be of value to investigate the numbers and sizes of the Marlin swimming in the Agulhas area.

Andrew Perrins was approached to be the Safety Officer and he has been involved in setting up aerials and manning the radios ever since. He does, of course, have his trusty helpers, Trevor Brinch, Davy Smeda, Christo Du Toit and Earl Fenwick as well as various others throughout the years – A great team effort.

Being the wife of Earl, I have seen first hand the amount of effort that goes into organising a competition such as this.

Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club hosts the competition and the organisers, Hubert Meyer, Jacques van Niekerk and Hannes Schreuder assisted by Club Manageress Marinda De Kock and Secretary Elsa Ollewagen are commended and thanked for the tremendous amount of work that goes into the organising of such an amazing event.  Thanks too, to the amazing catering staff for the awesome meals that are put out each evening of the week-long competition.

A function such as this cannot succeed without the generous support of the sponsors.  We really appreciate the following awesome sponsors.

  • Robertson Toyota
  • Raymarine Navionics
  • Garmin Sa
  • Tiletoria
  • FPM
  • Blenco
  • Aarbeidsvreugd
  • Simrad
  • Penn Fishing
  • Arniston Hotel
  • Realty 1 Agulhas
  • Addis
  • Big Catch
  • Big T Lures
  • Breco Seafoods
  • Caltex Struisbaai
  • Peninsula Beverages
  • Cornelis Ham
  • Distell
  • Henk Aggenbach
  • Andrew van Zyl
  • Lourens Odendaal
  • Malagas Hotel
  • Seaport Supplies
  • South Sea Suzuki
  • Suidpunt Marine
  • Van Loveren Family Wines
  • Zulu Overland
  • Viljoensdrift
  • Airwise
  • B&D Tegniese Dienste
  • Bon Courage Wine Estate
  • Built It Franschoek
  • Certainty Charters
  • Dirk Odendaal
  • Glenwood Wines
  • Struisbaai Hengelwinkel
  • OK Grocer, Struisbaai
  • SAB
  • Kido Staal
  • Firebuster
  • Springfield Wines
  • Anchor Boat Shop
  • Aquila Game Reserve
  • Central Fork Lift
  • Elizna en Johan Theunissen
  • Graham Beck Wines

This year there were sixteen boats entered in the competition

Multi skippered by Roelof Visagie

IMG_7620Mojo Skppered by Jacques van Niekerk


Bad Company skippered by Mike Borederick


Zulik skippered by Searl Durman


John Graeme skippered by Chris Goatley



Capetonian skippered by Hubert Meyer


Sunseeker II skippered by Johan Theunissen


Dory skippered by Dudley Rosslee


Gwaza skippered by Andrew van Zyl


Marco Polo skippered by Gerhard/Rikus de Beer


Le Boss skippered by Jaco Jacobs


True North skippered by Cobus van Coller


Indigo skippered by Gawie Bruwer


Moondancer skippered by Allen Hills


Riptide skippered by Werner Kotze and if you’re wondering about the fire extinguisher – this guy set something alight and had to sniff snuff for it!  He’s keeping the fire extinguisher just in case!


Met Eish skippered by Stephen Griffiths


To make the competition more interesting there is a by catch competition where teams are awarded prizes for other species caught.  This is called the Culcutta.

Monday 4 February First Day 1

The day dawned with great promise as the weather was perfect and sea conditions conducive to good fishing.    Early in the day the radios buzzed with the excitement.  Capetonian had a striped marlin on at the 45s!   And yes it was landed, measured, tagged and released!  Congratulations to Juan Jacobson for this awesome achievement.

Then Team Dory called in that they were fighting a Black Marlin but sadly it was dropped after a 20 minute struggle on the 45s.

Bad CompanyCapetonian-3DoryGwazaIndigo-1John Graeme-1Marco polo-1Met Eish-2Mojo-1Moondancer-1MultiRiptide-1SunseekerTrue NorthZulik


In the Culcutta – the biggest fish was a yellow tail weighing in at 11.02 kg.  Congratulations John from Team John Graeme.

Second was a yellow tail of 5.37kg from Team True North. Well done Oawie.

Third Hugo from Team Riptide got a 4,7kg Yellowtail.

In the olden days of sea faring discipline was maintained by a strict code of conduct and offenders were punished cruelly by having to walk the plank or other horrors.  Today this is illegal so instead those who transgress must suffer other almost as cruel punishments – like inhaling peppery snuff which is ‘hammered’ into the nostrils of the offender with a tiny mallet brought down upon the snuff board!

Here is a photo of one who had to pay for his crime.  I have many others and if you’re one of those and would like the photo please contact me and I will send it on to you.


More to follow in the next post


Fun Photo Challenge – Rainbow colours

Cee challenges us to post a colourful picture containing at least four colours this week.


As I live in the “Rainbow Nation” of South Africa I thought it fitting to post a photograph of our colourful flag for this challenge.   There are six colours in our flag – black, yellow, green, white, blue and red.


Four of our colours appear in the Saddle-Billed Stork – taken in The Kruger National Park


Endemic to the fynbos of the Western Cape this little orange-breasted sunbird represents a few of the flag’s colours too.


I just love how this little girl’s dress matches the bird she is offering sugar water to.


A colourful shop in Barrydale, Western Cape

Two Day Break – The Lab Lifestyle in Robertson

On Sunday and Monday The Earl and I went for a mini-break to The Lab Lifestyle in Robertson just an hour and a half drive from our home in Struisbaai.  This was to allow our friend Willie to paint a sealer on our  tiles.  It would make it so much easier if we were not there so the varnish could dry without fear of us walking all over it.

It was also close to our 32nd Wedding Anniversary so a lovely way to treat ourselves to a pampering celebration – Any excuse!

Willie rang our doorbell at 8:00 am – we were still in bed – and we hastily got up, made coffee, showered and packed while he got started on the moving of the furniture and mopping of the tiles.   “Don’t come back for two days!” he warned.

Our breakfast stop was supposed to be Stormsvlei Farm Stall we pop in there whenever we go to Robertson to buy wine.   But it was Sunday.  Now remember it’s in the middle of nowhere  and although the setting is stunning it has a very limited clientele.

The waiter appears – “Vandag het ons nie a spyskart nie.  Geen ontbyt – net ligte middagetes of die buffet wat teen 12 uur oop is!”  Today we don’t have a menu, no breakfasts, only light lunches and the buffet which opens at midday.

“Okay – so what light meals are on offer?” we ask.

“Quiche, chicken pie and schnitzel,” comes the reply. It’s 10:30 am.  We’re hungry so we  order chicken pie for him and quiche for me!   Wait 10 minutes and then waiter returns – “Sorry the kitchen can’t do it – only buffet at 12!”

So we leave and arrive at Bonnievale at 11:30 and find the Filly and Vine which turns out to be lovely but also doesn’t serve breakfast on Sundays. Well – it was almost lunch time so we ordered calamari salad with goat’s cheese and nuts.  Delicious!  The setting was awesome.


We were not disappointed with The Lab Spa, Robertson.  The weather was stunning and we enjoyed all the facilities on offer.    On Sunday afternoon we had a couples deep tissue massage and enjoyed it so much that we booked one for the follow afternoon too.

We’ve been to the Spa in Robertson before – it used to be called Rosendal but it is now under new management. It’s named for the owner’s deceased Labrador who was named Einstein and their logo of a Labrador dog is etched on everything.

There have been some changes!  There is now a lovely outdoor bar and deck and the infinity pool was sparkling.  We spent many hours at the pool deck and enjoyed some refreshing swims.


The decks overlooks the dam and here is a cormorant catching some rays

Our room has been upgraded and has Alexa!    Now let’s bear in mind that we’re in the countryside – the internet is often intermittent and Alexa is pretty new technology.  So we had some fun and entertainment trying to get her to comply with our wishes.  She is supposed to be able to open and close the blinds, switch the lights on and off, tune into the TV, control the air-con and even make coffee.  BUT if you don’t speak to her correctly she tends to get it wrong and you have to resort to the remote control. Imagine our surprise on the first night when we asked her to switch off the lights but instead she made coffee!

But Alexa tried her best and in the end responded well to my “Teacher Voice” and started obeying all my commands!

We enjoyed our meals at the restaurant too. The outdoor tables are communal and we had some interesting chats with some of the foreign visitors.  We also made friends with a charming young woman who was spending a few days of R&R and working on a paper for some medical research she was doing. One of the things we really enjoy about travelling is meeting interesting people!   And it’s a small world that we live in – it turned out that she works with the cardiologist that the Earl was with before moving to Struisbaai!







Since we were in the area we popped over to our favourite wine estate, Springfield, to stock up on some Life from Stone.   While enjoying a drink and snack of their delicious olives we spotted two Giant Kingfishers and a few other interesting birds including an amethyst sunbird but he refused to pose for his portrait.  The white-throated swallow was more obliging.

img_7558img_7526img_7530-1If ever you feel like some pampering, good food and a relaxing break, I can highly recommend The Lab.  Food is good and the staff are friendly – it’s the perfect place to unwind and recharge your batteries.





Share Your World – 28 January 2019


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


Are you thin or thick skinned?   Are you easily offended or tend to let it just roll off your back like a duck does with water?  

At my age I have learned to become thick-skinned.   I seldom take offence to what people say to or about me.  I simply find it annoying – it’s nobody’s business how I choose to live my life, so their uninvited opinion no matter how well-intentioned should be kept to themselves.

How important are morals in a healthy society? What are the most important morals for citizens to have?  (Credit to Rory for this question)

Morals are very important but then what’s moral to me might not be the same to you.  As long as the way you live your life does not cause harm to others it’s up to you to set your own set of values.  For me these things are important: Tolerance, Politeness, Honesty, Kindness.  I also believe if you know someone’s story you find it easier to understand why they are as they are.  Don’t judge! Just love unconditionally.

What will your epitaph be?

I doubt that I will have one but if I do it should be something like –

Here lies Digi-Gran – She made it to the future and embraced modern technology with enthusiasm.


Here lies the healthiest corpse in the cemetery. She died in the middle of a yoga pose, in the middle of the African bush or swimming in the sea!

(I don’t admire either/or questions much, which is why you won’t see ‘em often.  Today is an exception)  French toast, pancakes or waffles?

Well, I don’t actually often eat any of the above.  I know it’s a particularly American thing to do pancakes/waffles/French toast for breakfast.   Here in South Africa we would have pancakes or waffles for dessert.  French toast we might have at breakfast time but maybe only in a restaurant .  I haven’t had French toast in years. If I must choose – then it would be pancakes – with cinnamon and sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Waffles topped with ice cream and syrup is also a treat.

What were you grateful for this past week?

I am grateful for the best husband in the world.  We’ve been together in wedded bliss for 32 years plus four years before that, raised three daughters and have four of the most incredible grandchildren.  I am hugely grateful that we have a fantastic relationship with them all.  It’s  very special that our teen and young adult grandkids still want to spend time with us old fogies.   What a joy!

Cee’s Black and White Challenge – 22 January 2019

This week Cee gives us a free black and white topic the only requirement being to post a completely black and white photo – no sepia or other effects.

I have chosen some of my favourite holiday pics for this challenge.

Diederick’s cuckoo seen at The Wilderness Lodge where we spent a pamper day
Horse Riding at Jubilee Farm, Plettenberg Bay
The horses saw the funny side!
My great-nephew catching a ball
Just love this photo of my granddaughter having fun with her cousin
My niece’s firstborn having fun in Granny’s fish pond
Joshua and Jessie – My niece’s adorable twins