I thought I’d give you another quick slice of life around here this Tuesday, pretty much because it’s been a busy day and I need to get a chicken in the oven in twenty minutes! Let’s see if I can make it happen…
The weather’s cooling off for us now. And probably warming up for you. Lucky.
But we have these beautiful sunrises coming over the mountains in the morning!
If you happen to hold your cursor over that picture and wonder why it is entitled “Sunset Reflection,” well, I was in a hurry — I told you, I only have twenty minutes!
That one too. Sunrise. Sorry.
A big slice of life in Gordon’s Bay right now: We’re reading plenty of books these days.
Notice anything on the Bear’s chin?
He got in a fight with the corner of the tupperware drawer. I suppose he came off second best.
But we picked out that puzzle from Grandpa I told you about…
He’s pretty stoked.
It has a little car that plays music. Buttons + Music as a result of pushing said buttons = Happy Bear
(THANK YOU, GRANDPA!)
He’s still figuring out what goes where…which is good. What fun would it be if he could figure it out first time?
Okay! I saved the best sunset sunrise!! shot for last and I still have nine minutes to tell all these pictures to be the right size and wrap up! Yeah!
Dern! That took a while to upload! But that’s a twenty-minute slice of life around here these days!
Two minutes to spare! What’s happening in your neck of the woods?
Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is going great, dear ones! We went for a walk on the beach Saturday morning. The sun was high and shiny, the water cool and inviting, and the Bear more than willing to be a superstar photo subject. The pictures were too cute not to share. My apologies if you feel like you’ve seen too much Bear so far this week. We’ll move on tomorrow! 🙂
Enter said beach, stage left. And the Bear, desperately hoping a beach walk is on the agenda. Somebody preez open dis gate!! he seemed to say.
Here’s a good shot of a bit of the area where we live. A lot of the houses nearby are amazing, huge beach houses that people only live in one month out of the year. It’s kinda sad!
See the rounded windows with balconies in the background? Our apartment is in the complex through the entrance underneath. We would love to take care of one of those houses while the people are away, though! 🙂
The Bear decided that even if it’s chilly, walking in the water ain’t so bad! Yes, I can see his hair is scruffy and a cut is in order! Leave me alone about it, I’m not ready!
See the “GB” with an anchor spelled out of white rocks in the background of this next shot? (It’s rather faint). It’s in honour of General Louis Botha, a steady fighter of the Brits in the Second Boer War. (You might remember me telling you before that the Boer Wars were similar to the American War for Independence aka the American Revolution, except the British won. There’s a little more SA history for you in some other postsÂ here and here if you’re interested.) Anyway, years later, Botha visited London seeking assistance for the rebuilding of South Africa after the wars and Winston Churchill remembered him as the man who captured him in a Boer ambush of a British armoured train! He eventually became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, the forerunner to the modern state we know as the Republic of South Africa. He was seen as the leader of the Boers for many years after the wars, so it was a good thing he had a mind to make peace. The Naval Station in Gordon’s Bay was originally named for General Botha, thus the letters on the hillside. How’s that for a history lesson from a blurry mountainside in the back of a photo?
And this is the excitement of seeing an airplane go by!!
Hope you’re having a great Travelling Tuesday, and the road rises to meet you wherever your journey takes you next!
This week’s Travelling Tuesday is of a slightly different persuasion. Instead of the usual travel shots, I thought I’d give you a wee slice of life in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa with the Collies at the moment. It’s probably still travelling for most of you. And if not, please come over for dinner!
We’ll be saying good-bye to some of these sweet views tomorrow as we slowly make our way to visit Mark’s family in Bloemfontein. It reminds me a little of the Christmas story and the donkey trip to Bethlehem. Fortunately we’ve got Mr. Potato Head, and room at the inn already booked along the way. (Can you believe taking three days to drive and staying overnight twice is STILL cheaper than flying?) We’re excited for the change of scene, visiting Mark’s parents and seeing his sister at Christmas, and we are (read: Caroline is especially)Â excited for Mark’s Mom’s bacon-covered cherries that will be on their way to my tummy our tummies very soon…YUM!
So back to the present…at the moment in Gordon’s Bay, the Bear is struggling to decide between football and rugby.
(Football usually wins out because it’s easier to get out of the toy basket.) My door is decorated for the holidays, with ornaments and ribbons I already had from this and that.
(Many thanks to the Nester and Southern Living for that idea!) We spent a few hours at Bikini Beach (here in Gordon’s Bay) on Saturday. I wore a tankini in case you were wondering.
The Bear had a good dig, a good swim, and afterwards, a great nap! And don’t worry, that peely-wally skin had SPF 50 on it, no doubt!
So that’s a slice of life Travelling Tuesday from right outside our door! Hope you enjoyed the journey, and that the road rises to meet you, wherever it takes you next!
For the past couple of days, we’ve had swallows visiting, and behaving a bit strangely. They were flying around, divebombing in different directions, continually coming up to our balcony, and occasionally flying directly into the clear glass doors. Ouch! Then one appeared, perched on the light up on the wall on our balcony, and then another…then another. And eventually five birds were snuggled together, perched atop this rounded outdoor light fixture, almost pushing each other off.
We got a few photos but mostly left them to it, although they were not bothered in the least when Mark took photos of them, and even touched them. It was strange! Here are the birds in question:
The next morning, we discovered two of the birds just kind of lying together on the floor of the balcony, and they seemed so strangely tired, we just left them there again, and wondered what was the matter. Mark thought perhaps since swallows are migratory birds, they’d just arrived in Gordon’s Bay (perhaps expecting it to be slightly warmer — it has been unusually and unseasonably cold) and they were very tired because the wind has been hectic. So it was fine for our balcony to serve as a birdie rest haven for a wee while.
Then, while I was doing some early prep work for a big tasty dinner last night (an early African Thanksgiving, I made sweet potato fluff!) I just saw something drop and heard this thud on the balcony — one of the birds was lying there just behind the grill. “Mark!!!” I announced, “One of the birds has fallen off!! I think you need to help it!”
I must here interject an important point. You might meet Mark one day, dear reader. Depending on what part of the world you’re from, especially if it’s outside the southern hemisphere, you might mistake him for an Australian. This is an egregious error. To the untrained ear, Australian and South African accents seem similar, but they are indeed different. Different accents, different countries, different continents, different rugby teams, and different ways of cooking meat over an open flame. We once met with a dear sweet pastor back in North Carolina who after a few minutes of conversation exclaimed, “Dude, you’re like the Croc Hunter incarnate!” My husband is many delightful and heroic things, but friends he is no Steve Irwin, Jr. And I am not Terry. And we don’t have any pictures of the Bear near crocodiles either. Mark is rather good with animals in most situations, but let the record show, he is not the Croc Hunter. Â Now on with the story. After a picture of the Non-Croc Hunter with the bird in question:
So, Mark went outside and picked up the poor bird, who did indeed seem very tired. He tried to help him onto a porch chair, but the bird seemed keen rather to stay in his hand. He held him and warmed him for a little while. We brought out a little burp cloth blankie for him to cuddle in, but he didn’t really want to stay in it. Eventually, Mark decided to place him in a box with the blankie inside, and let him rest for a while. Someone was coming in the afternoon to install our big wireless internet receiver thingy out on the balcony, and there would be some noisy drilling, so it would be better if dear Baby Bird came inside for a rest.
I got back to my sweet potato fluff and Baby Bird was peacefully on the counter in the box, never making a sound. I was occasionally freaked out as I walked past the box thinking…this bird could decide he feels better and explode outta that box at any minute! I found myself taking routes around the flat that avoided getting near the front of the box where the lid was slightly ajar. Eventually he started to stir a little, after the outdoor maintenance was finished, and Mark took him back outside to see if he wanted to get out and perhaps fly off. I was a little concerned about letting him out of the nest so soon. Motherly instincts.
Anyway, he perched on the edge of the box like so:
Mark helped him out of the box, and at one point he tried to fly away, but THUD! He hit the ledge just below the railing on the balcony, and we felt so so sorry for him. I thought perhaps he would need to rest a while longer. Mark picked him up again and held him for a while. I went back inside to continue Facebooking my Mom or something, and all of a sudden heard Mark shouting, “GO BIRDIE, GO BIRDIE, GO BIRDIE GO!!! OH NOOOO!!!!” I scurried back onto the balcony to discover that our bird decided to take another leap of faith, made it out halfway across the harbour, and then ran out of gas. We watched in shock and utter disappointment. After a big wet feathery raucous, he was just floating along in the water, struggling to get to shore. It was clear he wasn’t going to make it. I immediately remembered the net down by the pool for scooping up leaves and said, “Mark, you could go get the net at the pool and run and fish him out! Maybe he’ll still be okay!” Then we watched as a seagull took a couple of pecks at him and we shouted, “No, seagull! No!”
The plan was in action. Mark rushed down to the pool, grabbed the net, and ran around the harbour to where the bird was. I stayed on the balcony to keep an eye on the bird and direct Mark to where he’d floated when he made it to the other side. (The Bear napped through this entire adventure). Mark arrived to the rescue amazingly quickly. Only there was an issue. The net was not long enough to reach our feathered friend. I stood there and could see the disappointment on Mark’s face as he scrambled along the rocks and tried to figure out what to do. And since there was no other way to rescue him, let’s be honest, in my heart of hearts, I really hoped Mark would go for a swim for our bird.
And he did.
As you can see, the local cormorant and crane, and two geese looked on, but did nothing to help our birdie friend. Birds of a feather… It was at about this stage that I remembered we’d just five minutes before seen Harold, the local harbour seal, up to his shenanigans, no more than thirty or forty feet from where Mark went for a swim. We have heard that Harold can be rather aggressive because he is so used to humans, and always expects them to feed him. So I was snapping photos and praying, “Lord please don’t let the seal attack my husband! Lord please don’t let the seal attack my husband!”
Finally, Mark was back on shore with the bird in tow. I quickly found a towel and hurried down to meet him. He came around the corner, bird in one hand, pool net and flip flops in the other. And that was when he broke the news. Our bird didn’t make it. It was either the pecks of the seagull or the little birdie lungs full of water that did him in. At least we know it was quick and hopefully peaceful. The soggy hero returned:
It was a really sad moment. We were bummed for a bit of the afternoon that our birdie friend didn’t make it. But I think someday Mark will do something like this again, when the Bear is old enough to understand what’s going on, and he will be so proud of his Not-the-Croc-Hunter-but-still-great-with-animals Dad. I already am.
Here’s to a Hero of a Hubs!
Soâ€¦ we are finally in our new place. And Iâ€™ve been a little reticent to tell you all the details about it because I feel like itâ€™s so nice missionaries shouldnâ€™t be living here! It is so amazing how the Lord just provides in His supernatural ways â€“ sometimes you donâ€™t even realise Heâ€™s moving, until you stop, look around and think WHOA. That was God.
This is the view from the 3rd balcony off our bedroom! We can see a tiny bit of ocean!
We started out looking for a place to live in Cape Town and decided it was rather expensive, and we could pay less and get more if we lived outside the â€˜big city.â€™ We ended up looking in the area of Gordonâ€™s Bay, and MarkÂ decided it would be a good idea to even further reduce our rent budget, which made me a little nervous.
We were hoping to keep our budget really tight on rent, so that we could pay off our car quickly, but when we spoke with letting agencies (rental agencies) and said, â€œWeâ€™re hoping for a fully furnished place for such and suchâ€ they often responded with, â€œOkay, thatâ€™s gonna be a bit tough.â€ Â Finally one agency had a place for us to visit. It was a two bedroom apartment, but we were hoping for a three so Markâ€™s parents and other guests could come and stay regularly and we wouldnâ€™t have to cart Asher around all the time. But this place had a sun room theyâ€™d closed in which was a perfect size to be a nursery, and I could peek through the window in the kitchen to check on him without bothering him.
It was still a little above budget, so we asked if theyâ€™d make an offer to the landlord for about 600 Rand (about $80 or Â£50) less than what he was asking, if we were to sign a twelve month contract. They asked, he accepted, and we moved in! So weâ€™re paying about $350 less on rent per month than we were in Edinburgh â€“ which is good because we have Health Care to pay for here, and the Bear is starting to eat a lot with that one tooth! AND they let us pay a lower deposit than the original figure. FAVOUR! (We’ve spoken to some friends in Cape Town who are paying a similar amount for a one bedroom!)
The best part...the view from our balcony!
So thatâ€™s all the backstory for the place we are now living in, which has blessed our socks off. Our living room and kitchen look out onto a little harbour directly below us, and then the Hottentots Holland mountains are in the distance. We have three balconies with beautiful views (and we can see tiny bits of ocean here and there). Weâ€™re a stoneâ€™s throw (literally!) from the beach, and thereâ€™s a grocery store across the street. Weâ€™re in one of the most secure complexes in Gordonâ€™s Bay, which was a big part of our housing choice, where lots of people own properties that they lock up and leave 11 months out of the year. (It’s very safe, Mom and Dad!) Thereâ€™s a big circuit we can run around the harbour in the morning, which makes a fantastic jogging trailâ€¦I mean seriously, do you want me to go on? So our little 2ish bedroom flat has blessed us beyond belief.Â The only thing that would improve it would be a dishwasher! 🙂
Weâ€™ve settled down in Gordonâ€™s Bay for the time being, and itâ€™s good to be home! (More photos below!)
This is our living room/kitchen/dining area. (Asher's nursery is through the doors at the back)
Our flat is on the left -- on the middle floor with a window open.
And that's our boat! Not!